She could not wait to get him to the other family members, and to see Papa. Dear Papa, had not been responsive for several days. He loved his children, grand-children, and great grands with all of his heart. His face would light up each time we came for a visit. As we entered the room, Paulette walked Tucker to the side of the bed. She said, "Papa.. Tucker's here. He wanted to come tell you that he loves you, and he's going to miss you." I watched as my sweet baby was ever so still. It was as if he knew he was there to see Papa for one final time. Anyone that knows Tucker will tell you he's an active child. As Paulette stood there with him, he did not move. She leaned over with him, reached out his hand and Tucker placed his little palm on Papa's face. His breathing changed for a split second and then it went back to the quick shallow breaths he had been taking. I stood there quietly praying. I asked God to please take Papa peacefully, and to let us all realize that his one desire for each of us is that we will know the Lord, and see him again. Paulette reached back over the bedside once more, and Tucker placed his small tiny hand on Papa's chest. At that moment, Papa took the longest breath I'd seen him take. It was almost as if he knew he was there. I took it as a sign that he was letting me know he was glad Tucker bear was there. Did he know, I can't say that for certain. But as I type this I am covered in chills and I can't help but think that God is giving us peace. We walked out of the room, my heart was broken yet peaceful.
Tucker and I had lunch with Paulette and Donnie. After lunch we headed back home and went about our normal routine. Several times throughout the day, I replayed the moments in that room. I thanked God for the time that I had to spend with Papa that day. I prayed for his peace, I prayed for Granny's strength. Our cousin Klynt and Heather came over for dinner that night. While we were eating, the phone started to ring. Travis answered it and we watched as we all froze wondering if that was the call. When Travis hung up the phone, we all breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn't the call. We discussed what a great man Papa is. We talked about how watching him go through the past few weeks was so emotionally trying. We all agreed that when God was ready for him, we understood and we would be glad to know he was suffering no more.
11:48 p.m., the phone woke me from a deep sleep. I jumped to my feet and ran through the living room. My heart dropped as I looked at the caller i.d. I answered and heard the shaky voice of Paulette. She was calling to let me know that our dear Papa had passed. I knew this moment was coming. I knew weeks in advance, but regardless of how I had prepared myself nothing mattered. My heart was broken. I gave her my condolences, and asked if there was anything we could do. I asked her to please let Granny know we were praying for her, and that we'd see her first thing in the morning.
I walked back to the room, to tell Travis. I then laid there for hours, tossing and turning. I thanked God that Papa was no longer in pain. I thanked Him for the many blessings Papa had brought to our family. I once again prayed for Granny's strength, peace, and understanding. Morning came, and I knew that I had to tell Carter. As he was getting ready for school I explained it to him. I told him that Papa received the call from Jesus, and that he is no longer hurting or sick. No, I don't think he fully understands but as I explained he dropped his head, then looked at me with tears in his eyes and said I miss him Momma. He then asked if Papa would talk to Jasper (our dog), and I told him I was certain Papa was already with Jasper and I bet they would be going fishing that morning. He looked at me with his big green eyes and said, "momma... Jasper doesn't fish!" I couldn't help but laugh. What was I thinking, dogs don't fish!! I hugged him and told him it was going to be okay. I explained that Granny would be sad, and if she was crying when we went for a visit later it was okay.
A song came to mind this morning as I was getting ready. I have been singing this song to myself since then.
- What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.
Wow! What a day that will be!! I received an email from my sister and it was perfectly worded. She said, "Can you just imagine...Last night sweet Papa Joe heard his savior say "well done my good and faithful servant, welcome home"! Rejoicing another saint is !" What a true, true statement. I'm certain that Papa was grinning from ear to ear as he heard those sweet words.
I would like to thank each of you for the many prayers you've prayed. The encouraging emails, phone calls, and just keeping me and my family in your thoughts. I told one of our cousins, that it was amazing to me that I have friends that follow my blog which I've never met, but I know your prayers have been with me. God is wonderful, and for your prayers and thoughts I'm forever grateful. Please continue to pray for our dear sweet Granny. The days that lie ahead of her will be long, lonely, and hard but with prayer and her faith she will get through.
Thank you, is the only words I know to say. Thank you for the many blessings you were to our family. Thank you for the sweet spirit you showed to everyone. You are a wonderful man, and you leave quite the legacy behind. You've been talking about fishing for weeks, may the fishing you're doing now be all you ever dreamed of. We love you dearly....