June 3, 2010

Holding onto Memories, Dealing with Goodbye

It's hard to believe that its been 6 months today since we said goodbye to my paternal Grandfather. For those who may not remember, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I got a call that my grandfather, or Paw Paw as we called him, was in a serious car accident and was in critical condition in New Orleans. George and I cut our Houston visit short to headed to the hospital the next day to spend some time with my grandmother and the rest of the family.

The following Tuesday (Dec. 1) George left for a conference in North Carolina and I settled in to get a few of the nearly 200 boxes unpacked since we had just moved to our new duty assignment. I got multiple daily updates from my Dad and aunt about my grandfather's recovery and for a while he looked to be improving, but on Thursday (Dec. 3) the doctors sent him home saying there was little else they could do. They thought he'd have a few days if not a week or two left and my grandmother wanted him to be where he was most comfortable, at home surrounded by his 3 children, 16 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. At the time I was 8 months pregnant with Jamie and desperately wanted him to hang on long enough to meet his first biological great-grandchild, but it was not to be. Just an hour or so after he arrrived at home with my grandmother and his 3 living children around him, he quiletly passed away. I got the call from my Dad shortly after that. George arrived home the next day and we made the long journey back to Louisiana for the funeral.

While this may be the last memory of my grandfather, it is just one of many that I treasure.

My parents were divorced during my first year of life, so my earliest memories were of my brother and living next door to my grandparents. They took care of us when my dad was at work. I was smitten by my grandfather from early on. He was a larger-than-life, quit, hard-working man, who's stern discipline was only outweighed by his fierce love. My father's ability to make my brother and I laugh as children was definitely a trait learned from my grandfather.

For the first 7 years, it was just my brother and I. My father would marry my step-mother and we soon learned we'd have to share our grandparents with her 4 children, something that caused my turmoil as a child, which I revisted at the funeral, but that is a different story.

I had 31 great years with him, but somehow it just doesn't seem long enough. He taught me how to pick up three eggs in one hand (they had an egg farm), tie my shoe with one hand and the proper way to eat Zapp's potato chips (open the bag from the bottom where all the spices are!) One day I'll pass great pearls of wisdom down to my children, but I am sad that they will never know him, but am comforted in knowing that I am a better person for having had him in my life ...

Here are a few favorite pictures of me and "Paw Paw" from my "cute days!"

Until our next cup of tea ...

4 Tea Party Guest:

ancient one said...

Nice memorial post to your grandfather. I know you miss him.

lime said...

i'm glad you've got such precious memories to hold on to. i hope they continue to give you comfort.

Sue said...


You are so right about the time never being enough.
Your memories are bittersweet, but you said it all when you mentioned that you are sad that your children will never know him, but that your life is richer by having had him in your life. It's a safe bet that part of those blessings will be passed to Jamie and his brothers or sisters. They will know him through you.
God bless you,

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Oh! What wonderful memories and sweet photos! What a great tribute to your grandfather. I love his military handsome!

Blessings & Aloha!
(Also...enjoy your special Father's day together with your adorable little boy! He is growing so big!

Blessings & Aloha!