Nov 20, 2014 - Uncategorized    3 Comments

Two Chairs Are Empty Now

Two chairs are empty today.  The grandpas used to sit out back together for hours.  They would watch and make comments.  They never had much conversation.  Dad passed last January and last summer, Papaw didn’t want to sit outside this last summer.  I’m not sure if he didn’t feel like it or was he missing his friend?

Last Friday he took a turn for the worse.  He fell and just didn’t have the strength to walk anymore.  All his kids made it in.  They had some time to visit.  Papaw passed peacefully.  I saw he was going to pass and we held hands and prayed him into Heaven.

Our job is done for now.  img_0586

Nov 18, 2014 - Uncategorized    6 Comments

The Beginning of the End

Papaw has been on hospice for several weeks but there hasn’t been lots of change.  We knew he was slowing down and by being on hospice, the end is made much simpler. Dad never made it to hospice so this is our first go around.  When all the parents moved in, I never even thought about them leaving.  They were getting up in years and even with the dads having dementia, I just never thought about the end.  Why is it that we see ourselves as never ending?  We all have an end date.  Last I heard, the mortality rate here on earth is 100%.

Hospice has been a realization that the end is coming.  It has given us time to adjust.  Nurses and Social Workers have helped us walk through the process of end of life.  It now is coming quickly.  Papaw fell over the weekend.  Falls are particularly hard on the elderly.  The skin becomes paper thin and the least little bump can end in a terrible bruise and  often a large sore.  So when Papaw fell, he really banged up his arm.  No broken bones though.  That fall is the beginning of the end.  He just hasn’t really recovered from it.  He is now bed bound.  We have had some good talks with him.  We have been able to tell him how much we love him and we have given him permission to die.  All of his children are here.  Stories are being told, tears have been shed and relationships renewed.  I don’t know how much longer he has but God does.  Until that last breath, we will continue to love him.

Our lives are about to once again change.  Change is good right?

The Wedding Vow (Part 2)

img_0586I will never forget the day we were married.  My husband asked me to bring containers to the wedding so we could take some food away with us.  We had finger sandwiches, which was very cutting edge for that many years ago, vegetable trays and cake.  So I brought the containers and the caterers filled the containers and I forgot them at the church.  We hadn’t gotten far away when my new husband asked about the food.  I admitted I left them and he turned around and went back for the food.  When we pulled back into the church parking lot, the only two people still standing there were our fathers.  Talking, smiling and I am sure reminiscing about the day.  They asked what we forgot and I said, “Our little sandwiches.”   Jim’s dad said, “I hope I never get that hungry.”  He still remembers that and every year we are with him on our anniversary he makes us little sandwiches.  It is such a part of our life that when our daughter got married she had the caterer make her grandfather “little sandwiches”.

Over the years, those dads have become good friends.  They always visited each other regularly and once Jim’s dad moved to Florida, my mom and dad would always stop and see him when they went to Florida.  Once they even took a mini vacation together.  Not all in-laws would do that but they did.

Fast forward that story to three and a half years ago when they began living together here at this house.  This was never planned.  I never dreamed all our parents would live together under my roof.  Jim’s mom has been dead for years so she never lived with us.  It often makes me think of the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  When Charlie won the golden ticket, he took it home and all four of his grandparents were together in bed:  heel, toe, heel, and toe.  We never had to live in those close quarters but three parents lived here together.  The dads became best of friends.  They would sit together out back and watch the pond for hours.  There was little talking that went on.  Just watching and being comfortable with the companionship they had.  Being friends is often being silent when you don’t know what to say.  They would sit on the couch and never speak; often one or both of them dozing off to sleep.  They shared a bond that most people never get to share even in their dementia.  They knew they had a friend and they knew they were loved.

I never dreamed life would turn out this way but it has.  As hard as some days are, I have been blessed to be such an intimate part of their lives.  To be a part of the “for better or for worse” is a day to day part of life that few people get to experience or should I say want to experience.  I will forever be changed by this experience.  I pray that the changes within me are for the good.  Scripture tells us to “honor they father and they mother”. (Deuteronomy 5:16).  I believe I have done that.  I also believe your parents don’t have to live with you for you to honor them so don’t  have any guilt feelings about your parents not being in your house.  I have tried to always honor them.  I believe when I had in-laws they become parents I needed to honor also.

So that brings us back to those vows:  vows to be kept no matter what, no matter how hard and no matter how easy.  That young couple have a lot of living to do.  Their lives will be filled with adventure if they choose to look at it that way and no matter what may happen, until death due them part.  That is where my life will finally end and my vows will end with it, until death do us part.

As Erma Bombeck said,  “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body.  But rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, WOW!!!  What a ride!”  I thank the Lord for that ride and for the ride He continues to take me on.

 

 

 

The Wedding Vow (Part 1)

This weekend we attended the wedding of a lovely young Christian couple.  I still love to go to weddings.  It is so special to see a new young couple pledge their love.  Especially today when so many young couples are choosing to live together instead of marry.  This young couple reminded me of my wedding day.  It rained on my wedding day just like it did on this young couple.  I have always been told that rain on your wedding day mean lots of tears during your marriage.  We sure have had our tears but they haven’t all been sad tears.  When I think of tears, I usually think of sad tears but we have had lots of joyful tears.  We have had several wonderful houses, 2 precious children, delightful vacations and memories that fill dozens of photo albums.  Don’t ask to look unless you are serious about that.  I do have dozens of photo albums.

When this young couple took their vows, the minister asked all married couples to hold hands and take their own renewal of vows.  My husband and I actually renewed our vows at our daughter’s wedding 5 years ago.  It was very meaningful to do that at your child’s wedding.   At this wedding, we got to do it all over again.  The meat of the vows said:  “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”

The day I took those vows, I didn’t have a clue as to what they meant.  Many times in our marriage, I have understood the term:  Ignorance is Bliss.  If I knew what I know today I probably would have run back down that isle and not only NOT said Yes but never said Yes to anyone in marriage.  Only deep love and I believe a love for the Lord can make you say Yes to those vows. I believe that is partly why so many young couples don’t get married.  They don’t want to be bound by vows that are so hard to keep.  Running is easier.  Marriage is hard work.   I have stood by those vows over and over, for better and worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health.  I have loved and cherished from that day forward.  In December, I will have been married 30 years and Yes I would do it all over again.  I’m glad I didn’t understand that Yes and went through with a marriage to a wonderful Christian man that is the head of this house.  I must admit that he has had his challenges with me as his wife but we won’t go there in this blog post or any blog post for that matter.  I’m glad I didn’t run back down that isle.  If I would have left, I would have never experienced that fullness that God had planned for me prior to taking those vows.

image 2011-4-27 0015

 

(Part two on Thursday)

Nov 6, 2014 - Uncategorized    No Comments

More Stories

This week, Papaw started telling stories again.  It amazes me that he is telling stories that I nor my husband have ever heard.  His mind just keeps wandering back to long forgotten memories that he shares when they trigger.  This week he told about when he was a boy and wanted to earn money for Christmas presents.  He went to neighbors homes looking for work.  He found someone to hire him to wring out the clothes after they were washed on a wringer washing machine.  My grandma had one of those and I loved to help her do the wash.  It was different and she helped make it fun.  She always cautioned me not to get my fingers caught because I could rip one of them off or even lose an arm.  Well that is what happened to Papaw.  It ripped off one of his fingers.  He said it was barely held on by a little flesh.  He was rushed to a local doctor who sewed it back on.  This would have been over 80 years ago.  There wasn’t a lot of technology back then and probably this was done in the office.  Papaw didn’t remember that part.  He has full use of his finger and it isn’t numb at all.  Truly a miracle that God blessed him with full repair of that finger.  He never said he went looking for jobs like that again but knowing him he did.

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