Monday, July 14, 2008

Warning: Tough Day Ahead

Today is the one year anniversary of the death of FIL. I wanted to share some things about him. He was a very quiet man. Never had much to say. When he did talk, you could barely understand him around the big chew in his mouth. He only ate plain Lays chips, slices of block cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and tomatoes. He was a very flexible man. At 76, he still sat with his legs pulled up into his recliner with him. Almost sitting on his feet. And would sleep like that. Wilson had endured many things. He was a war veteran, a lung cancer survivor, had 1/2 of his lung removed, cut several fingers off, cut 1/2 of his foot off with the lawnmower. He repaired lawnmowers, not because he needed to work, but because that is all he knew. But the thing that I remember most is the way he lit up when he saw my children. Yes, he had other grandchildren. But their family is not a lovee-dovee type of family--no hugs, no kisses, no birthday wishes. My family is a hugging, kissing, celebrating, I-love-you family. Thankfully, all of my children got that trait. They have a way of making people feel special. And without a doubt, they made Paw feel special.

Bro Man was two when Mr. Wonderful and I started dating. I remember the first time that Paw met Bro Man. He asked what his name was and Bro Man's response was "Pete." I don't know where that came from, but until the day he lost coherence, he called Bro Man that. July 4th of last year was when Wils became sick. He was admitted to the hospital in the early morning hours that night. The doctors determined that he had kidney stones. On the following Friday, they did surgery to insert stints. Only they discovered cancer instead. He had lung cancer again and I don't remember what other kind of cancer. He had abnormal heart monitoring. After this surgery, Wilson never regained his mental capacities. We saw glimpses of the old Wilson for a few brief seconds. On three occassions, we were called to the hospital because he was not expected to make it through the night. We decided to take the kids to see him, even though we knew they would not understand. I talked to him and he really did not act as if he understood. We brought the girls to the edge of the bed and sat down with him. He said, "Hey babies" and touched their heads. They said they loved him and moved on. Bro Man was being very standoff-ish because he is very emotional like his mama. Wilson laid there for a few more minutes then sat up and said, "Where's Pete?" One day Bro Man will understand the impact of those words. He will understand the importance of Paw not asking for one of his blood grandchildren, not even once, but asking for him.

A very important event happened during this time. Mr. Wonderful had to stay with his father one night. Not knowing whether or not he was saved, my amazing husband did the hardest thing he could have done, and he took that night alone with his dad to witness to him. Every time Wilson was awake, Mr. Wonderful witnessed to him. He came home the next morning crying like a baby. Then he called his mother and witnessed to her. And then cried some more. Cried in a way that I have never seen another man do. It was because of this night that Mr. Wonderful made peace with his father dying.

The third time we were called to the hospital, it was during the night. We had to enter through the emergency room and no idea how to get to ICU. We found Wilson lying in a hallway on a bed waiting for x-rays. Now remember, the only things he had said in twelve days was "Hey babies" to the girls and "Where's Pete?". We approached him laying there and he looked at us and smiled. He told the nurse, "This is my son." It was one of those rare, beautiful moments. Even in his near death state, the pride he had in Mr. Wonderful was so evident.

So on this day, we celebrate his life, the love he had and shared with his family, and the beautiful moments that transpired in his last few days alive. We love you, Paw.

Last night I found Emily sitting in my sewing room. I don't know how long she had been there. She was just sitting on a three drawer organizer looking out the window. I walked over to her and she reached for me. I knew that something was wrong. When I asked, she said she was thinking about the people that we love who died. I don't know if just subconsciously she knew today was the anniversary or if she was just missing Paw, but when I asked her specifically who, she told me "Paw." Such a pure, golden heart. So full of love. So beautiful.


Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Oh what beautiful memories. Thank you for sharing them. Having those special moments with Paw will be treasures for all of you forever.

Shelle said...

That is so neat that your daughter even felt the importance of this day!

I am actually NOT from the south...I was just TRYING to imitate a southern accent...I'm know I murdered it! lol!

I am from the West...Utah to be exact! Thanks for coming by! I loved looking through your blog! :)

Anonymous said...

That whole post was beautiful!!!!

What a wonderful way to remember him too!

Songbirdtiff said...

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Clearly you have excellent taste in blog style. :)

I think your memorial of your FIL was lovely.

Graham Shenanigans said...

I lived thru these days with you, Heather and I remember we cried together and rejoiced together. Thanks for sharing your memories.

I sure didn't want to cry at work today!!! but I did!!