As a child, I remember seeing this man come every Sunday to church. He would sit weekly on the same pew to the left side of the church. Every Sunday he would sit and listen, and afterward go get in his blueish colored car to leave. I always worried about this sweet seeming man. He was probably in his mid to late 70's at the time. I worried that he was going home....alone and it made me so sad. I didn't know him, but we attended the same church. Even as a young girl I worried about that "old" man. (70's just ain't old seeming now!)
Years later, I met that man. He and his wife were introduced to me as "Granddaddy and Grand mama " met them in 2001 when my boyfriends' mom (my now mother in law) married his now step dad. They married in the back yard of "Granddaddy's" yard. I left work that afternoon as a lifeguard to attend and take pictures for my boyfriend's mom that day.
I saw that man and realized that he was the man that sat at church all those years before. I figured at this point he had passed away because he no longer came. Little did I know that he didn't come because he couldn't hear well enough anymore. All those Sunday's we left church and the worries I had for this man came flooding to me as I watched him interact with his wife. He was very happy, not alone and doing well! I heard stories from my boyfriend's mom about things they had taken Granddaddy and Grand mama to do and thought it seemed really nice of them to take this little couple out.
Little did I know the amount of life a mid 90's man and early 90's woman could have in them!!!
Fast forward a few more years. Grand mama was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away at age 98 in February of 2007. We had talked and been around them at birthday's and holidays, but I did not know them very well at this point. From the first week that Grand mama passed, we began going to visit Granddaddy on Sunday's after church. Rose (John's mom) would cook a big lunch every Sunday and we would go visit. We didn't miss a Sunday unless we were out of town. This became a constant for all of us. I remember one Sunday about a year into us coming he patted John on the shoulder and said, "I just love you like your my family." John laughed and said, "you too!" To John, they had already become family. It doesn't require blood, ya know! So, each Sunday would roll around and we would sit in the same spot at the table. We would get there before anyone else to visit some before lunch as he seemed to talk more then. He started setting a place for us and putting a chair next to mine for Oscar to sit.
|He got banned from feeding Oscar. He would give |
him massive bites of ANYTHING --cake, chicken, pie, etc.! :)
Rose truly took care of him. She did anything and everything for him! As time passed, she began going in the morning to be sure he was up, going at lunch and checking back when she got off work. Not once a week, but everyday! As he said many times, "she is just like a daughter to me." Simple things such as getting his medicine after lunch (which Olivia was now doing) and folding the table cloth and putting it up became the norm for me on Sunday afternoons. I enjoyed coming over before lunch because Granddaddy would tell great stories. I love to hear those kind of stories. I learned a lot about him. He had lived in this town for many years and watched it grow. He use to live where our local ford dealership is now. He raised mules and would tell us stories of going to Nashville and trading. He would show us pictures of family members and tell us about them. He told me about his dog, Mutt. I am so thankful that I spent a couple days of spring break a few years back and sat with all of the pictures we could find as he told me about each one. I put them in albums and we now have that documentation. Though I didn't know it, my heart must have adopted this sweet old man at some point in the last 5 years.
We continued our visits each and every Sunday. He would laugh as Oscar came barreling in as soon as he opened the door. John would do odd and end jobs at the house to help out, me attempting to help, and Rose doing anything that could possibly be thought of--she did it all!
He was so excited for us when we told him about adopting Olivia. He couldn't wait for her to come home and has also been excited about Easton coming home. Olivia has been there every Sunday since she has been home. They would take rides in his wheelchair together. I don't know which of the two enjoyed it more. He would pull out a small chair for her to sit and color. He loved to watch her roll across the floor and began placing a small golden spoon for her at the table each week. He doted on her to say the least!
|Olivia's DOL. A HOT day in June of 2010.|
|Olivia's first Easter home.|
|Olivia's 2nd birthday.|
|Olivia's 3rd birthday.|
|105th birthday --taking a second to love on Olivia.|
Weekly we noticed him declining over the last several months. He wasn't eating much and would sit quietly, normally falling asleep after lunch. (I took a few naps myself!) Unfortunately, he fell vacuuming a month ago and broke his hip. His health declined and he passed away this morning. The whole time he was in the nursing home he would ask if we were all eating at the house on Sunday's. I told him that we came to see him....not for the food. Ok, the food was a perk, but we were truly there to visit with him.
It will be very different not doing that, but I hope that will soon continue. He would like that! I would, too!
|104th birthday directing our singing of 'Happy Birthday.'|
Dang that circle of life. However, tonight Granddaddy, you don't have to kiss that picture next to your chair of Grand mama ...you are right there with your arm around her, I am sure! I hope to see you again someday!