It's hard to realize that Big Daddy is really gone from this earth, but I am truly comforted that He was a Christian and is no longer in pain or discomfort. I was happy to hear more than once that before his surgery he had expressed peace with the possibility that he might not survive the surgery. He knew that if he didn't try it, he wouldn't live much longer and would not have a good quality of life. If he did try it and it was successful, he would have a longer earthly life with more quality. If it wasn't successful, he would leave this earth and begin the eternal life that Jesus died to make possible for us all. I am truly comforted by his peace about this.
I think the hardest thing for me is thinking about my grandmother. There were times when she just looked so sorrowful. They had been married 59 years. She said she can't remember a time when she didn't love him. She made more than one "speech"-directed mainly towards the men-expressing how much Big Daddy had loved her during their life together. She said he told her he loved her every night before he went to sleep. She said if he turned over to go to sleep and hadn't said it, he would turn back to say it. She said once he left the house to go somewhere and hadn't said it. He came back home just to say, "I love you." She said, "Why do you do that?" He said, "I could get in an accident and wouldn't have told you." She told us that she knew he sometimes had a different way of expressing his love to others, (he had a way of "telling it like it was" which sometimes came across as "gruff") but to her-she said it wasn't like that. His love for her was expressed daily and easily. When making her little talks to us, she mainly directed them to the men-encouraging them to love their wives or future wives as Big Daddy had loved her-and it warmed my heart to know that I have that kind of husband in Chris. She doesn't need to worry about the way he treats me. All the things she was encouraging him-and the others-to do....he does. He is definitely one of the good ones!
I was proud of her and the way she reminded us all of how much he loved us. I am mindful of her tonight and wondering if she's remembering that last Sunday night he was at home. The next morning, they took him to the hospital for a surgery that wouldn't be successful. We had been told of the possibility of him not making it, but even the surgeon was surprised that it ended the way it did. He was apologetic and said he really thought it would work. Things just didn't turn out the way we had hoped & prayed. Maybe the Lord thought it best to take him Home now because maybe even if he had survived he still would have suffered. I don't know. I just find myself praying for my grandmother a lot, that she will be comforted and live a happy life, even without him physically by her side.
My parents said they had never seen a church be more supportive at a time like this than my grandparents' church. I wasn't there the day of the surgery, but they said there were so many people there praying & supporting the family. When the surgeon knew things weren't going to go the way he'd planned, he had Big Daddy taken to ICU on support so the family could say their final 'good-byes.' I know that had to be a hard moment. After a time, they turned off the machines and he left this earth. Mom said when they left the room, the hallway was filled with people from the church. I know our extended family (probably close to 30 of us) were well fed at my grandmother's house and at the church building during our stay in town and the support shown during & after the memorial service was appreciated.
I was so happy to see my grandparents' next door neighbors from the neighborhood where they used to live. As a child, I used to go visit them everytime we would stay with my grandparents. They were special to me and I hadn't seen them in YEARS. I was hoping someone would call them and they would come. I was so happy to see them there. A sweet friend brought us dinner Wednesday night before we left for Huntsville Thursday morning. She wanted to do something and knew not having to cook dinner the night before we left would be a huge help-and it was! Another couple slipped us some "gas money" for the trip. That touched me greatly because, again, they wanted to do "something" to show they care. Many others have expressed that they are praying and thinking of us. I came home to several sympathy cards. It is good to know that friends are caring for us.
My grandfather was a good man and I have many good memories. It was good to see how many people cared for him and still care for my grandmother. I pray that she will be taken care of-and that I will do my part to take care of her. I will be praying for my mom too. After all, this was her dad. I'm glad she has my dad to be a support for her. I know she's exhausted physically as well as emotionally. I also can't help thinking that Maw Maw, my other grandmother, died when I was pregnant with Katie and now Big Daddy has died while I'm pregnant with this new little one. Kinda weird. Big Daddy had told me in October (the last time I saw him) that he read my blog. It was kind of funny to think of him reading it, but I liked knowing that he was able to keep up with our family this way. I'll miss knowing that he's not reading it anymore, but hopefully our loved ones can look down on us from Heaven. I like thinking of them doing so.
I'm thankful for the hope we all have because of Jesus. I don't know how people get through things like this without this hope.
Here are some pictures from the weekend: