Thursday, February 19, 2015

Real Life Love Story

Now that I've had some time to process, it's really setting in with me how blessed I was to have the grandparents that I did. I've always known how special they were, but sometimes its not until they are gone that we realize what wonderful people we have had living in our presence. As most of you know, both of my dad's parents passed away within two days of one another.

They had both been sick and for the last month, they had been in different places in order for us to care for them the best way we knew how. Papa was in Hospice in Statesboro and Grandma was at Candler in Savannah. Their declines happened within the same time frame even though they were in separate cities. I feel that they were truly communicating with each other on a spiritual level during those last few weeks. Papa passed away very peacefully on Valentines Day (Saturday). My dad and his brothers decided it was time for Grandma Joan to go back home to Statesboro to keep her comfortable, as she was not getting better. On Sunday morning, she was moved to Hospice in Statesboro.

On Monday, we held Papa's visitation from 5:00-8:00 and welcomed old friends. It was so nice to hear their stories about what a wonderful man he was and how he had impacted their lives in such a positive way. Many people from his adult Sunday School classes came to visit and a few even divulged that they hadn't been back to Sunday school since then because they never found a teacher as good as he was. He was so well respected within the community and known for putting God and family first. I am very proud to call him Papa. When the crowd had left, our family gathered, exhausted, back at Grandma and Papa's house to the chili, macaroni and cheese, blueberry cobbler and all sorts of other goodies that their church had left for us. It warmed my heart to see how the people of their church showed us so much love.

As we were warming up the food, about to fix our plates, Hospice called to let us know that we needed to come be with Grandma. It was almost as if she had waited until we finished visiting with everyone who loved Papa, then she went on to heaven to be with him. If ever there was a great love story, this is one of the truest. We were able to hold a double funeral and burial the next morning, much to the surprise of many who were showing up to celebrate Papa's life. Little did they know that Grandma would be right beside him.

They set such an example of love for each other and for family over the years. One of my family's running jokes is that once when Papa was asked what his hobbies were, he commented, "loving Joan." And that he did. Back when they were able to drive around and live their normal lives, Papa was always pretty adamant that they shouldn't be driving the dark. He would always comment on how it was getting dark and they needed to get home. My Aunt Chris put it well; when she returned from Hospice on Monday night after Grandma passed away, she said it was as if Papa was telling her, "Come on Joan, the Kingdom's's getting dark!"

I want to give a great big thank you for all the well wishes, thoughts, and prayers sent my family's way. I hope I can speak for us all when I say: we felt them and we all feel so blessed.

Visiting at Grandma Joan & Papa's house in Statesboro years ago

Obituary for Papa

Obituary for Grandma