Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Letting go

It is so hard to let go of things you love.  As a mother it's hard to let go of the baby days that seem to last only for a moment.  It's hard to let go and let your baby who has turned into a big boy walk into his classroom for the first time.  It's hard to let go of friendships, a pet, a job whatever the case may be.  Letting go is just hard sometimes.  

Our dear Papa is nearing his final days and it's so hard to know that we have to let go and let him go.  Still so many conversations I want to have, so many songs I want to hear him play on his guitar, so many stories I have yet to hear. Yesterday, I spent the day in his home helping however I could.  I was hoping that by being there I could be of some sort of help, support, anything.  I have never lost anyone close to me, so this is also a learning experience for me.  

The past several weeks I've watched as my mother in law and her siblings have stood by day in and day out.  I knew the process of being there was a lot, and had it's trying and tiring moments but they've not complained.  They've pulled together and they've been there for Papa each and every moment.  It's love.  What better to have in a family then love.  Yesterday as I watched the emotional roller coaster, just being there for the several hours that I was at that moment shown how truly trying this time really is.  It is so hard to watch someone that you know and love so deeply battle a disease that can not be won on this earth.  So many times yesterday I sat and prayed.  I prayed for God's peace throughout the home.  I prayed for God to comfort Papa, for Him to provide him with rest.  I walked into his room only to see dear Granny clenching his hand, her head on the bedrail, and tears streaming down her face.  I stood there and prayed that God would wrap His loving arms around her and let her know that she is not alone, for He is with her.

I've talked about their love for one another here before.  It's a blessing to my soul each time that I see them.  Granny's spirit is broken, her heart feels empty, but she knows that Papa is on his way to a better place, the arms of our dear saviour.  Sitting with her yesterday she told me that earlier that morning Papa had told her that every time he would crank up the car, she was right there ready to go with him regardless of where it was...she was there.  She told me that she held his hand and said, "I can't go with you this time.  But I'm coming soon, so wait for me." She smiled ever so sweetly and just looked back at him.  She also told me how blessed I am to be able to stay at home with my babies, and that how now days we are able to provide so much more for our children then they were able to.  She said that she and Papa had talked about the things they wish they could go back and change.  I stopped her and told her that the things they gave their children were suffice.  Their lives were full, a roof over their heads, food on their table, and a home filled with unconditional love.  She just held my hand and cried.  So many times today I watched as she just stared at him. Knowing that she would give anything for him to sit up, and talk to her.  She would love to have him eating breakfast and drinking coffee with her.  My heart breaks knowing that she is going to long for the sound of his voice.  The smell of his clothes, the touch of his hand.  

I also prayed yesterday that God would give me the words to say in moments like this.  I feel lost a bit, like I don't know whether I should speak or not.  Will what I have to say help, or hinder?  God made it clear to me yesterday that you don't always have to say something, or do something big that everyone notices, but it's the little things that go unnoticed that sometimes help the most.  

Several family members came over for dinner last night.  As I sat at the table eating, I couldn't help but think about how much Papa would enjoy to sit at that table.  Listen to his children, grand-children, and great grand-children talking.  I wondered if by chance he could hear us in the other room.  Each of us is dealing with this differently.  Some of us cry in the open, others of us prefer to be alone.  Some of us hold his hand when we talk to him, others of us do not. Regardless of how we are handling it, I know that Papa knows and can feel the love that is around him and filling his home.  After dinner, we all gathered around his bed.  I felt helpless, a bit scared, yet peaceful at the same time.  I cried as I watched him breathe, yet I smiled knowing that he will soon be breathing with no problems.  He'll be singing a song of praise.  He woke for just a moment and Carter and Tucker were able to love on him for a bit.  Tucker gave him a big smile, and Carter wrapped his little tiny arms around Papa's stomach.  My sweet baby said, "I love you Papa" and I couldn't help but sob.  He may be only four but he knows that something is not right, and that Papa is not feeling well.  We've talked but I don't think his mind really comprehends what is going on.  

Papa told us he was going fishing.  We all chuckled, and Uncle Chris said he thought we'd need to wait a bit because the weather just wasn't right for fishing right now.  Aunt Vicki asked Papa if he wanted to go down to Boggy Creek and do some fishing, something she talked to me a week ago about that she remembers doing so many times with Papa.  Klynt and Travis told Papa they would hook the trolling motor up to his bed and we'd take him fishing whenever he wanted.  Papa loved to fish.  He told Travis, Klynt, and Daniel a few weeks back that he wanted them to have his fishing boat.  What a memory for them all to share.  I told Travis I can't wait for him to take Carter fishing in the Spring. After all the fish talk, I told everyone we would have to plan a day once a year to fish in Papa's honor and have a big fish fry.  Papa loved to fry fish, and his hush-puppies, were delicious!!!

We kissed Papa good night and told him we loved him. When we got home, I talked to Carter about if he understood going to heaven.  He told me, "we go to see Jesus".  I explained to him that Papa is very sick, and weak and that soon Jesus will call him and he will go to Heaven to live.  He asked if Granny was going to go with him.  I told him no, she would stay here with us. He said, "Momma, I don't want Papa to go to Heaven, I want him to stay here with Granny."  I told him that Jesus would make Papa feel better, he asked if Papa would find Jasper (our dog) and I told him yes.  He also asked if we would see him in Heaven.  I told him that if we love Jesus, and know him in our hearts that yes one day when God is ready for us we will also be in Heaven and see Papa again.  He just looked at me with that typical Carter look, and said okay but Granny is staying here?  I love the innocence of children.  I told him to pray for Papa when he went to sleep and he said, "I will momma."

Letting go isn't easy, but letting go knowing that he will be walking the streets of Heaven is such a reassurance.  Take time today to tell each person that you hold dear in your life, I love you. 


Heather said...

Oh, Jennifer, I sit here with tears in my eyes reading this post.

I remember sitting with my dad in the hospital, a couple of days before he died. He was sedated, on a ventilator, but I held his hand and cried and talked in the hope that part of him heard me.

This is such a difficult time for you and your family. Let God's love shine through all that you say and do; you won't go wrong with that.

Praying for peace, for you and for Papa Joe.

(Two great songs that helped me were "I'll Fly Away" (the jars of clay version) and "I Can Only Imagine"). Music can be such a comfort.

Jessica said...

I know that what you're feeling inside is the furthest thing in the world from "beautiful," but your words as you describe it are beautiful, indeed. I began to cry as you talked about heaven with your little boy...and his desire for his Papa to stay here not to be with him, but to be with Granny. That was beautiful beyond words.

I wish I had words that would somehow make this easier, but there are none.

Thank you for the honest conviction of this message today. God bless your family.

Juggling Thoughts said...

I was right next to my father as we took him off of life support...he was only 64. I hope that he heard me and knew that his entire family was with him.

After watching him pass, I never believed there was a higher power or place more, than in that moment.

Beautiful post, Jennifer. Thank you.

Chris Reinolds said...

Jen, I've told you before but I'm praying for you and the family. I know it's heartbreaking. God is in control and I'm still praying for His will in all of this.. that He is glorified.