Needless to say, the month of May was a very difficult one for my entire family. My parents spend 5 weeks in the St Louis area with my grandparents as my grandmother quickly deteriorated (the longest continual length of time they have spent in that area since they moved us to Florida in the late 1980s). My brother has been serving as the caretaker for my grandparents since January (he was supposed to return to Florida at the end of January). I flew back and forth to St Louis twice with a toddler and had to deal with the stress of my daughter being out of her routine and facing the realization I was going to lose a woman I loved dearly.
It is now the beginning of June and I have now been back home in Jacksonville for a week. My grandparents have not been far from my thoughts. I feel a void inside me knowing that my beloved grandmother is now at the feet of Jesus and concern for my grandfather who was left behind.
I spoke at length with my father last night regarding grandpa. Dad assured me that he is hanging in there as well as can be expected when you lose your other half of 61 years. He is currently suffering from congestive heart failure and we know it will not be long before he joins his beloved wife on the other side. However, despite of both the emotional and physical heartache grandpa seems to be okay. He has his faculties about it, can recall the memories of his youth at a moments notice (usually upon my inquiry), the fluid he had accumulated at the time of the funeral is now gone and he is not in any physical pain. He doesnt appear to have given up on life quite yet, I know that part of him is ready to go, but it seems the that his other half is not quite ready to go. I am glad that he has not given up on life, I dont want him to simply waste away because he has given up. I would rather his last days on this earth be full of the joy and happiness he brings to all of us and that when its his time to go, he simply goes to sleep with his mind and memories still about him.
The week of the funeral was difficult on all of us but it also provided me the pleasure of seeing my aunt, uncle, and cousins that I had not seen in eleven years. Its hard to believe but my little cousins are now all grown up at 18 and 16 and I was shocked to discover just how alike my uncle and my dad really are (there is no denying that they are brothers).
The funeral was a grueling 3-day funeral due to the fact that last Monday was Memorial Day. The viewing was Sunday afternoon, the service on Monday morning, but the burial could not be held until Tuesday (the cemetery was closed on Memorial Day). It was a beautiful service and I learned so much about my grandmothers testimony that I never realized. I also finally understood the facts about my grandparents courtship and subsequent marriage. Such a beautiful story that I will share in a future post.
I met my Uncle Troy (grandpa’s brother) and his son Robert for the first time. I also met my 2nd cousin Polly (the daughter of one of grandpa’s sisters) who had given me advice on which parts of Jacksonville I should consider living right before she moved here. She told me that she is considering a move back down here. I would love it if she chooses to come down this way, I would love to get to know her better.
The only drawback of the entire trip was that Thomas was unable to make the trip with me due to the last minute notice (I believe deaths usually are unexpected and difficult to plan when you have to travel). He is self-employed and its hard to reschedule some of his jobs. Therefore, I flew halfway across the country, by myself, with a toddler. Oh what an experience that was. Natalie did fairly well but it was still difficult. I am amazed at all of the goodhearted people out there who came out of nowhere to give me a hand at the various stages of my flights. God was truly working through these individuals and I feel truly indebted to them for their assistance.
Now its time for a meeting so I guess I will have to continue my thoughts later 🙂