The past month has been emotionally trying for me. Many of you know the Hubby and I recently moved and, for obvious reasons, was full of sad "goodbye's". But one of those "goodbye's" came unexpected. And that "goodbye" was to my grandpa, who passed from this world on July 4th.
My mom called me on Thursday, June 30th, to let me know Papaw was dying. So, the next day, I boarded a plane to Paducah, Kentucky and prayed he would hang on just a little bit longer. And he did. I got to hold his hand and kiss his head of black hair (yes, even at 85!...he's Syrian). Even in his hospital bed, hooked up to oxygen, he was just as he always was - so happy to see me, full of love and kind words even though it exhausted him to say them. Including the second thing he said to me, which was, "Where are my grandbabies?" :)
All growing up we spent July 4th weekend with family - many times at Papaw's lodge by Kentucky Lake, setting off legal (cough...cough) fireworks. This time, I spent the entire day with my mom and uncles and aunts and cousins, all of us grieving together what we knew was eminent. The only one that wasn't sad was Papaw. He kept saying, "Don't you worry about me. I'll be fine. You take care of yourself." He was ready to go. He was eager to go. He was strong and encouraging and loving even in death.
And so he passed in his sleep on July 4th, 2011.
It's hard realizing he's gone. I can still smell his house, hear him snore from the family room, see him with that video camera attached to his eye--how I loathed that video camera back then, wearing jeans and a cowboy hat on the beach in Florida, hear his laughter - oh, how he laughed, see that blue Cadillac which, as a child, drove me to Toys R Us. He was the kindest man I knew, he'd do anything for anyone, he always smiled and laughed and said how much he loved you. And if you knew him it all you'd know he thought his children and grandchildren were the most beautiful in all the world (and to us granddaughters he called us "Beautiful" more than he called us by name...)
I'll miss you, Papaw. This world wasn't the same for having you, nor will it be the same for having you gone. Every memory I have I keep close and cherish, and I thank you for them. You've been a blessing in my life, and I've been lucky enough to call you my grandfather. You've left a legacy to a family that adores you and loves you and misses you already. But I take peace in knowing you're where you want to be. Saying goodbye isn't easy...but at least it's only temporary. We will see you again, and I'll look forward to it!
I love you, Barbara Leigh