It's March 24, and my Pop passed away today around noon. My mind has thought a million thoughts. I am of course sad because he is gone. Sad because I no longer have him, my kids no longer have him, my grandmother no longer has him, and my Dad no longer has his Dad.
I feel joy because he is now with in heaven with THE FATHER, his mother who died when he was 5, his Dad, his brother, his 2 sisters, and so many other family members and friends. I feel blessed because I was given 30 years with him... 30 great years to cherish. He was MY POP and I was always special to him. He always made me feel this way. We never saw each other or left each other without a kiss on the cheek and an "I love you." He helped teach me how to love and how to show love.
He also helped teach me how to take care of myself. I learned to shoot a gun at a young age. We used to shoot go out back and shoot the 22, pistols, and more powerful guns as I grew. I wouldn't trade that for anything. I find great comfort in knowing I can protect myself if the need should arise. He also taught me how to change the oil in my car. When he and Mawmaw bought my a car, I would drive it to their house and we would change the oil and filter together.
I always had a good time with my grandparents. We would play countless games of Yahtzee, Aggravation, Rummy, and Dominoes. We would watch Wheel of Fortune and Full House together. We went to the mall to "baby watch," not shop. He made trails all through the woods and we would go walking. Later he got us a 4-wheeler to ride on the trails. He had a garden and we would pick the tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, eggplant, etc. He made a wagon to hook onto the back of the tractor and he would ride Josh and I on it. He hooked a Nintendo up on the back "porch" for us to play. We would take trips to the store where he would buy me candy and ice cream. One time he bought me each flavor of push-ups. I ate all of them that night and later threw up in his and Mawmaw's bed in the middle of the night. He got up, changed the sheets, and we went back to sleep. He monitored how many I ate at a time after that. He always had plenty of ice cream to choose from. I opened the freezer last night and there sat 3-4 containers of ice cream. He would come and get Josh and I each Wednesday to go to Dairy Queen and get a buy one get one free sundae. He was always at my softball games and later would laugh about my butt. He always said it suck out and you could put a quarter on it and it would stay! Not sure if that was a compliment, but he thought so. :)
My brother and I were able to see lots of places because MawMaw and Pop would take us on trips. Each year we would go to North Carolina to see Mawmaw's family. They would take us to Dothan to the Water Park. We went to Disney World, the Everglades, and Key West on one trip. I remember one hotel we stopped at. Josh and I went in with Pop to check on a room. He started fussing with the attendant and we ran to the car and dove in like it was a drive-by. We knew he wasn't going to cut the attendant any slack! I was fortunate to go on 2 different vacations out West with them in the 5th and 6th grade. I saw things I hope to see again like the Grand Canyon, Royal Gorge, Yellowstone, Corn Palace, Arches, and more. We stopped at every Wal-Mart or K-Mart we saw... and I always seemed to forget my money in the car. Those trips I will always treasure.
He thought I was perfect... but never forgot ANYTHING I had done that wasn't so perfect. He would bring things up and laugh about them. He always told the story of me calling him to come and get me. When he got me in the car, he found out I was fussing with my mom and that's why I wanted to go. He said I blurted out "I hate my Mom!" and he told me to hush my mouth, that I didn't hate her. Of course I didn't...just what kids think when they are mad. He also would tell the story of me calling them saying we didn't have anything to eat. He and Mawmaw thought my parents were having a tough time and hadn't told them. They went and bought groceries and showed up at the house with them to find out we had groceries... I just didn't like any of it!
My grandparents always had a way of making people feel welcomed. I have heard so many of my friends and Walter say this. I had many friends who would go to their house with me and play. Now that I am older, I realize that is not common. It was special, because that is who they are.
They made all 3 of our boys feel loved too. My favorite memory of them and Pop is the time they spent in his room. He had a bed that would move up and down and massage. When David was younger he would get in there with Pop and have him all folded up in the bed. His head and legs would be up in the air. Daniel and Dillan followed suit. They did the same thing to him.
Even as Pop lay in the hospital bed, he still made me feel loved. In the ER he would hold my hand and he told me to make sure the boys knew how much he loved them. After he was put on the breathing machine we would have lots of talks. I would go down for the 8:30 visits most nights. Most of the time it was just he and I. He wasn't able to communicate, but I would talk to him like he could. He would squeeze my hand and try his best to look at me. A few time he shook his head yes or no, or squenched his eyes at me...I squench my eyes at people too...just like him. I am so very thankful for those last memories. God let him hang around just so we could have a few good talks.
I have no doubt he is in heaven now loving on his mother. I find comfort in that...