My Pappaw had a wonderful life. He had many people who loved and respected him. Among them 2 children (my Daddy and his sister, Amanda), 8 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. What can I say? We're a bunch of breeders! However, this blog is not about his life but rather his death.
On October 2, 2009 my little sister Brittney called to tell me I need to get home to say goodbye. I was a bit in denial so I took my time and waited until the next morning. Truth is though; deep down I was very afraid I was going to be too late.
When I saw my Pappaw I was greatly appreciative for my sister's warning. That was not my Pappaw lying in the hospital bed in the back bedroom of his home. This man was frail and thin. My Pappaw always had an athletic build and was anything but frail. Unfortunately, this man was my Pappaw and he was slowly leaving us. He was actually out of it most of the time but he had moments of lucidity. During one of those moments I told him I loved him and got to hear him say he loved me one last time.
The next few days are still a blur. The hospice nurses were amazing and most of the family helped with Pappaw's care as well. And I must say I have never been prouder of my brothers. At a time when some would have found it easier to sit around feeling sorry for themselves, they (my 4 big brothers) stood up as men. I believe they all at some point had to help change the sheets or change his diaper. My Pappaw was in lots of pain at the end so this caused him great distress. Did I say how proud I was of my brothers? Because I really am! They were able to do these things, not because it was easy or because they have no hearts but because they all have hearts as big as Heaven itself and because the man in that bed was our Pappaw and he needed them!
On Monday, October 5th, Pappaw said his last words and they just happened to be to my youngest, Bridget. He saw her and said "You sure are a pretty little thing, I tell you what." I'll never forget that. That night, My Daddy and I decided to stay through the night and give my Pappaw his meds which at this point meant every hour because they were keeping him fully sedated. Every hour my Daddy and I would give Pappaw his medicine. I'd rub lip balm on Pappaw's lips and my Daddy and I would have a good cry. Every hour. It was an exhausting night. At 3 am my Daddy decided we'd wait until 5 am to give Pappaw more meds so that the 2 of us could get a couple of hours sleep.
At 4:45 am I woke up because I thought I heard someone walk into the den. No one was there and I suddenly had a very uneasy feeling. My plan had originally been to let my Daddy sleep but I suddenly felt as though I needed to wake him. We soon realized Pappaw was taking his last breaths. Mammaw and Amanda woke up, I called my sister and left to go pick her up. My Pappaw passed away before I even left the driveway in the presence of his wife of 62 years and his two children. The way it should have been.
Now, earlier I said I was proud of my brothers but what I'm about to tell you next amazes me still...
When the men from JA Funk Funeral Home were taking my Pappaw to the car they needed help. First, there were the steep front steps and then the completely saturated yard. Two of my brothers (Brian and Brad) stepped forward yet again. With not a complaint and no shed tears, until they closed the hearse. John Allan (my Mammaw's 1st cousin) was very impressed, as was I. My 2 brothers, my sister and myself stood in the driveway and watched as they drove my Pappaw away from his home for the last time on that rainy morning of October 6th.
Until we meet again, Pappaw. You are missed and loved still.
Brice, Pappaw, Mammaw, Me, Brittney, Brian
Cory, Pappaw, Mammaw, Katherine, Me, Bridget, Kaydence, my Daddy