January 13, 2014

My chains are gone. I've been set free.

Last Monday, my Grandma signed papers to allow hospice come in and take care of my Grandaddy as he nears the final stages of his battle with Alzheimers where he finally gets to go home.

When we first realized something was wrong with him was when I was high school--when he started forgetting things. He would misplace things. He would repeat stories. He would forget directions to places he had been going his entire life. As it progressed he his memories were vague, sporadic, if they were even there at all.

He always wanted to ride. He'd ride anywhere. He'd ride until you wouldn't want to drive him anymore and we'd have to switch drivers. If you were to ask him where he wanted to go, he'd answer "home" Even in his own driveway, that's where he wanted to go.
We would drive him to the place he lived right after marrying my grandma, their first home together. He would say that wasn't home.
We would drive him to the place where his childhood home once stood. He would say that wasn't home.
We would drive him to other places like his Aunt's house and other places that may have meant something to him. Those places weren't home.

I think I got my love of the mountains from him
Wednesday night, my mom called and told me that the nurse said that we should prepare to say our goodbyes. I rushed home as fast as my poor car would allow me and ran into that front door of my sweet grandparent's house faster than I ever had in my entire life. There, sitting in the living room of the house he built with his own hands was one of the strongest men I had ever known taking his last breaths. My grandmother, easily one of the most amazing woman to ever walk this earth, practically a saint, sat next to him holding on to his callused hands that she had loved for 60 years..

We waited, we prayed for peace for his soul and for him to no longer be in pain. The nurse encouraged us to talk to him, to talk to each other, because she said he knew we were there. We laughed. We cried. We loved on him and each other. As the morning came, we decided to go our separate ways so that my grandma could rest. My uncle was the first to begin the exodus. He kissed him on the forehead, told him he loved him, thanked him for being such a great man, and told him it was okay to go now. The rest of us followed.

The second my mom and I got back home the phone rang with news that he snuck out. After everyone had left, all had grown quite, and those who were staying the night weren't looking, he just snuck out.. which is so characteristic of him.

The rest of the weekend was spent with my family saying goodbye, seeing faces I haven't seen in years, mending our broken hearts, and comforting the rock that now holds us together, my Grandmother, who had just lost her best friend that she had been married to for just a few months shy of 60 years. They are a true example of the kind of Marriage I strive to have. The kind of love I hope to one day experience.
After my grandparents had been dating for a few months, my granddaddy told my grandma that God told him she was the one that he was supposed to marry. My grandma told him that God didn't have to tell her, she already knew. 
Even though it was a weekend of goodbyes, it was also filled with most laughter than that house has seen in many years. I suddenly feel so much close to my family after spending these past days with them in all the different circumstances that arose.

After the burial we all returned to my Grandma's house where we continued to stay by her side. We began watching the slideshow video the Funeral Home had created  using our family photos. All those that were present piled on their living room floor of the house that built me as best we could to see the TV. In that moment, I realized how lucky and blessed I am.

Blessed to have known a man so strong as my Granddaddy.
Blessed to have been raised by saint of Grandma.
Blessed to be a part of such a wonderful legacy that he left behind.
Blessed to have two people of such powerful faith set an example for me to live up to.
Blessed beyond belief and proud to have such a wonderful family to love and by loved by.
Blessed to have found peace and closeness in a time that many could be find to be so lonely.