February 13, 2011

I'll fly away

poppal & ivy

I've had that photo as my iphone wallpaper since I took it a couple weeks ago. That's my Poppal.

Friday was his 80th birthday. We visited a little bit in the morning, took him a new flag for his garden, and Ivy played tea party with him like always.

That night, we had a huge birthday party for him. Family and friends from all over came to see him. He was so happy. Ivy thought it was her party, so when we sang and he blew out his candles, she cried so hard. So he had them light his candles again and we all sang- again- but this time to Ivy. And they both blew out the candles together.

Saturday morning I got that too-early in the morning call. You know the one that can't mean good news. Poppal had a massive stroke a few hours after his party was over.

I spent all yesterday in the ICU with him and my family. I watched my Mommal say her goodbyes to her partner of almost 60 years. And through the afternoon into evening I saw the grief slowly turn to peace, falling softly upon us.

I spent this morning up there with him, just us two. I played him every old gospel favorite I could find, and after that God Bless America and The Battle Hymn of the Republic. He was the most patriotic person I knew. And I don't know how many people understand my relationship with my grandparents. Most people just see "old", I know, but I don't. I never felt they were a burden, but it was a privilege to spend time with them, to bring them joy wrapped up in Ivy and Gray packages during our daytime visits.

We took the kids up there, it looked like he was sleeping. They just moved him to hospice nearby so I am heading over there in a few minutes. They are making him comfortable while we wait for him to pass on.

The very last thing I said to him Friday night as I hugged him goodbye was, "I love you, Poppal." I know he knew I loved him. And he knew I knew he loved me.

100 comments:

  1. I am sending you lots of hugs and prayers. I can't imagine the day when I have to say goodbye to my grandparents.

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  2. My sweet Steph,

    My Granny was one of my best friends and favorite people growing up. I used to voluntarily leave college on the weekends and drive down to spend time with her.. this lasted through both pregnancies up until the last year.

    I completely understand and the fact that y'all were with him and had such a blessing of a night prior to his stroke.
    <3

    love you and sending buckets of love and prayers to your whole family <3

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  3. So much love for you right now (well, always but especially right now). You've honored him so well with your words and I'm certain he knows how much you love him.

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  4. I'm so sorry, Stephanie. What a blessing that his family was able to celebrate him, just before.

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  5. Steph,
    know that you and your family are covered in prayer. What a beautiful relationship you shared with your Poppal...

    I pray those memories and the love of Jesus hold you and your family now and in the days to come.

    Hugs
    Jen

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  6. So sorry to hear this, Steph. I'm glad he got to have happy times being surrounded by his family and friends one last time.

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  7. Oh Steph...my heart is breaking for you. I know this pain, this saying goodbye to one you have loved and cherished for so long. And I understand the closeness...when my grandfather passed away last April it was like I lost a little piece of me. But I'm so thankful for all the memories and that I got the chance to say goodbye. Praying for all of you at this hard and painful time.

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  8. Steph, I know it doesn't make it any easier, but I'm so glad you got to have that moment (and the zillion that led up to it) with your grandfather.

    I can't imagine how much joy you have brought into his life. Immeasurable, I'm sure.

    I'll keep praying for you all and him and . . . yeah. My heart is broken for you. I don't think there is a good way to say goodbye, but I also can't imagine a better time to know how much you are loved.

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  9. I was blessed to be with my grandpa when he passed. I remember it well. It was special. I know this is a hard time but take solace in the specialness of being with him as he goes to an even better place. Sending you peace love and hugs. xoxo

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  10. Oh, Steph. I'm so, so sorry and my heart is breaking for you. I'm so glad that everyone is having a chance to say goodbye and that your last words to him at his party were about love. I will be thinking of you so, so much. I know this is so hard. Sending love and hugs and peace. xoxoxo

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  11. Oh Steph... sending you so many prayers and positive thoughts. Thinking of you and your family.

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  12. The exact thing happened to my grandma. She had a stroke as well and was in the hospital for about a week. I went to visit her last Saturday at hospice where she was just transported to. It was really hard to see her like this. This was my last grandparent in my family and the only one I was able to say good bye to while being there with them. The last thing before leaving last Saturday that I did was held her hand with both of my hands and in my mind I said good bye. Then I left. The next day she passed away. So again I know what you're going through. She was laid to rest on her birthday, which was last Thursday 2/10/11. She turned 79. It has been a tough time and always is when someone you love passes on, but with time it heals. My thoughts and prayers are with you. And I'm sure he heard you loud and clear when you said you loved him.

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  13. I'm praying for peace for you and your family in this time. You know I was with my grandma and mom and God allowed me to sing them into eternity. I pray that you and Poppal have an experience as beautiful. (((hugs)))

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  14. I'm sending all my love and prayers to you and your entire family.
    ;love you

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  15. I don't have any words. But to say that you've honored him so much just in this post alone. You are so blessed to have had this time with him. I know you already know that.

    Love. From across the miles.

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  16. you know that song, "i'll fly away" was played at my mom's funeral. and everytime i hear it, i tear up.

    your grandpa sounds like such an amazing man. and what sweet memories you will have of him playing tea party with your ivy.

    it's like God knew He was bringing him home, so it was one last party here for his 80th.

    prayers are coming your way, friend.

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  17. I am so sorry to hear about this. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. It has been 12 years since I watched my Granny's spirit fly away...and not a day has passed that I don't think of her.

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  18. beautiful friend, I love reading your words, so truthful, so loving, so real.

    praying for your family.

    britt

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  19. I don't comment much but I just had to on this one.
    My heart is just aching for you and your kind, loving family.
    Thank you for sharing your Poppal with us.
    Praying for your family and a peaceful passing.
    Much Love,
    Stacy

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  20. Oh! So heart-wrenching and so bittersweet. So glad you had such a wonderful last party with both Poppal and Mommal happy and well. I'm sending prayers for a peacefull passing.

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  21. I am so sorry. My Grams passed Feb 11, 2010. We spent Friday evening celebrating her. I will pray for you and your family, it is such a difficult thing to go through.

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  22. I'm so sorry, Steph. I know all too well how hard it is to say Goodbye. Tell him as many times as you get to how much you love him and how much he's meant to you. (I wish I could have said it a million more times than I did.) I am thinking of you and your family with a heart-ful of love and empathy. xo

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  23. Many hugs to you. I am keeping him and your family in my prayers.

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  24. Prayers and peace headed toward your whole family. Such a hard thing to go through. Hospice are such beautiful people, they have taken very good care of three of my grandparents now - I know they will take care of your Poppal too. My heart goes out to you.

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  25. I am so sorry to hear about this! I lost my grandfather to suicide a couple months ago and miss him eeveryday, I, hope you do find comfort in knowing that he knew how you loved him and vice-versa. That's the only thing that has gotten me through as well. May God grant you peace during this time.

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  26. Oh Stephanie, I completely understand the range of emotions you're experiencing and I just want to give you a big hug right now. We lost my Mamaw in 2008 and I still miss her so much. The few weeks she was in hospice were both the hardest and most relieving I've been through. My heart knows that she is at peace now and I am so thankful that we had the time to say goodbye to her. I'm thinking of you and your family, and keeping everyone in my thoughts.

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  27. Oh Steph, I'm so sorry. I'll pray for peace for your family and comfort for your Poppal. Hold on to the memories and continue to share them with your littles. I hope you find peace in the coming days.

    Hugs!
    Shelley

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  28. I was very, very close to my grandmother, too. It's amazing how diverse your emotions are all at once!

    One of the things that makes me smile the most is what a friend said to me about her funeral, which I think was a testament to her life. He said, "That was the happiest funeral I've ever been to. A true celebration of a life well-lived and a great reminder of what's waiting for us all in heaven!"

    Praying for you all...

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  29. I'll be praying for you and your family. The kids will all remember him at his party- how great is that?!

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  30. Stephanie, that very song in your title played in my head as I said goodbye to my father last spring. I'm praying for you and your family. I'm very close to my grandparents, too ... I don't see old -- I see wisdom and deep love. Big hugs. And prayers.

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  31. My love and prayers are with you and your family and most especially your mom. Please give her a big hug for me. How wonderful that you were able to have one last beautiful family celebration to remember. Hugs to you all!

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  32. Oh Steph Im so sorry. You and your family are in my prayers. <3

    And I hope this doesn't sound terrible, but at least he was surrounded by family and friends just a few days ago at a party celebrating his life.

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  33. I am so sorry to hear about your Poppal. Your post brings back memories of telling my Pops good-bye. It's never easy, but I hope you have some peace in the process.

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  34. Oh, hon. I am crying for you and yours right now. My Papau passed away last year just as suddenly as your Poppal has had this stroke. It was such a hard thing for me as I loved him so dearly... as did my kids.

    We will be praying for you during this difficult time. Sending love and hugs.

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  35. Oh my heart! What a beautiful picture of Ivy and Poppal! Stephanie this brings back the memories of my Grandmother who if you recall I was so close to. It will be a year next Sunday that we said our good byes. My last words to Grandma was I LOVE YOU and her last words back to me was the same. She did too have a stroke and went to sleep for a week before she crossed into those Heavenly Gates. I am getting tears... I know they are going to a better place but it still hurts. I wish I could be there closer to cook meals or do something for you all. Please know, we are praying. Much love to you all!

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  36. Oh, hon. I made it to the last paragraph without tears. I have been there, and I loved my grandpa like you do. My heart goes out to you, Steph. Much peace and love for you and your family.

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  37. So so sorry. Praying for you and your family.
    ~Ashley

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  38. big, big hugs, Steph.

    It's so hard to say goodbye.

    Thinking of all of you.

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  39. Prayers and wishes of peace & comfort for all of you.

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  40. How beautifully you love, Steph. It pours out through your words. Praying for you and your entire family this night.

    Bri

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  41. I am so sorry for your loss Steph - what a sweet tribute you have posted. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

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  42. I'm sorry your family is going through this. I'm grateful that it seems you are all covered in peace at the same time. I'll say a prayer for you all.

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  43. I am so sorry to hear of your Poppal. We recently said goodbye to my grandpa & it is so hard. Even harder for me was watching my grandmother say goodbye to her companion of SO many years. What a beautiful tribute you have posted here, to him. May you find comfort and peace in the days ahead.

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  44. I am not good at words and saying I'm so sorry for your loss is so, I don't know....clinical....

    Please don't get me wrong, but I am soooo happy that he got to spend his birthday...with people he loved and you got to tell him you loved him. Does that make sense? sending comforting cyber hugs!!!

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  45. Oh Steph what a beautiful post. He for sure knows how much you love him. I'm so sorry for the road you are walking but praying light and peace for your journey and his... much love.

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  46. Oh babe. So sad to hear this. But I'm so so glad that you get some last times with him. You've taken such great care of him and Mommal and you are an inspiration in that. Peace for you and prayers like crazy. xoxo

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  47. Stephanie, I'm so sorry to hear this, but I'm glad you've gotten to spend those precious moments with him, and that you know and he knows your love for each other. I wish I had had that opportunity to say goodbye to any of my grandparents. Prayers for you and the whole family.

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  48. Oh, Steph. I am lifting you and your family up in prayer :(

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  49. Oh, sweet friend. How my heart aches with you.

    That's how we lost my beloved grandpa, too. One day fine, the next day - stroke. Seven years next month since he left us. Can't believe it - seems like a blink.

    I'm glad you're able to be there with him as the hours tick down. My heart and prayers are with you.

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  50. Oh Steph, I am praying for you and your family.

    I know that call, it's the one I'm afraid to get. My grandmama is 83 and I just love her to pieces. I write to her and call her frequently. Yesterday we were discussing Hugh Hefner getting married. I have this deep seated fear that something will happen and my children will never know this amazing woman who has shaped who I have become.

    So I am praying for peace for you. And that he is enjoying all the attention and music. I kind of imagined him bursting from happiness after the party.

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  51. Praying for your family tonight.

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  52. Stephanie, I'm praying for you tonight. My heart is aching for you and your sweet family. Hugs to you, friend.

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  53. My heart goes out to you. Today is actually my grandma's 94th birthday, and even though to most that is soooo old, she is still so special to me. I love her so much and this hits so close to home.

    I'll be praying for you and your family Steph!

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  54. i know and i'm sorry and you're so heavily on my mind/heart right now.

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  55. So sad for you, Stephanie. Sending hugs and prayers.

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  56. Oh Stephanie. My heart sits with yours.

    From all you've ever said about your grandparents, I know this: Your Poppal loved well. And his last few hours? Oh. Just a foretaste of eternity.

    Praying God's peace and, yes, even joy upon you and your family right now.

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  57. Praying for you and your family.

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  58. What an amazing photo and memory you will always treasure. Your family is in my thoughts.

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  59. So sorry to hear. What a blessing you can all be together to say goodbye. It is a rare gift to have such a beautiful relationship and an even rarer gift to be together to say good bye. We will pray for your family.

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  60. I love my grandparents the same way, and I'm so, so sad for you and your family. What a gift to be there with him.

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  61. I am so sorry to hear about your Poppal. I'm sending my thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

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  62. Oh gosh, so hard... know that your and your family will be in my thoughts <3 I can't imagine saying goodbye to my gramma (only grandparent I have)... it's just so hard :(
    Love you.

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  63. Praying for you and for your family....so thankful you have the memories of one last perfect evening together. My Grandma didn't get to meet my youngest but she at least knew about him. We had her over for Sunday dinner and I made all her favorite recipes. During dinner I made a split second decision to announce my pregnancy way too early because it was such a perfect day and I wanted her to know. She was ecstatic! She died in her sleep five days later. My grandparents are all gone now and in many ways even though I still have my parents, I feel like an orphan without them.

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  64. I am so sorry. I have been in those shoes and I am in about to be in those shoes again. How well I know the ache. I am praying for you.

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  65. What a beautiful post. I'm glad you were able to visit your grandparents. I'm glad you are able to be with him during this time.

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  66. I don't see "old" Steph, I see love.

    And I really get it. I was very close to my grandparents, but there was just something extra about one of my grandpas. I still miss him so much. I went out to breakfast with Ellie (@onecraftyellie) recently (Blissdom) and a very very old man was our host. He reminded me so much of my grandpa that all of the sudden I was crying and crying.

    I'm sorry you're going through this. It's really hard.

    Much peace to you.

    xoxo

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  67. Oh Steph. Lots of love and hugs and prayers for your and your family during this difficult time.

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  68. Sending prayers and love to you and your mom and all your family.

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  69. oh stephanie...thinking of & praying for your family.

    i am very close to my grandparents (even living away from them now), so i get that relationship.

    i love that your poppal had the candles re-lit and the song sung again for ivy...what a precious memory!

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  70. Oh Steph, I'm SO sorry.

    My prayers for your family and that Poppal's passing is simple and painless.

    Many hugs to you all.

    Rach

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  71. Oh Steph, my heart is heavy for you today. What more can you ask, to have a perfect last visit with the ones you love? Many prayers for you and your family today.

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  72. our thoughts are with you Steph.

    My husband and I have no living grandparents - my daughter only got to meet (and have her picture taken with) his grandma, a year before she passed. So glad that you have so many pictures and memories with yours.

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  73. oh steph, my eyes are completely welled up with sad tears for you. Praying for peace, for you and your whole family.

    I am so very sorry, from the very bottom of my heart.

    ~emily

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  74. My heart breaks for you. I am so very sorry. Praying for peace for you and your entire family. Hugs to you.

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  75. So, so sorry.

    Such a beautiful post. So full of love.

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  76. I'm so sorry about your Poppal! What a sweet post, he sounds like an amazing man. We're praying for you guys...

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  77. Steph, I am so very sorry about your Poppal. Praying for you and for all of your family during this sad time. Your words are a beautiful tribute.

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  78. I'm sitting here at work, tears pouring down my cheeks.

    Strokes are such horrible, life changing things, coming with no warning.

    I'm so glad you were able to tell him you love him and that he was surrounded by those he loved.

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  79. Oh, Steph. What a precious man. My prayers are with you and your family. Much love...

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  80. I am so very sorry, he looks like such a sweet man.

    Love and light to your entire family.

    XOXOXOXO

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  81. Sending soothing prayers for peace and love your way. I loved my Papap the same way...always looked forward to our visits and left with an "I love you" when we had to go. I'll be thinking of you!

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  82. I'm so sorry Stephanie. I know you really love your grandparents as you write about them a lot.

    I love that you blessed him with music the last couple of days. When my grandma was passing two years ago my sister and I flew down to Florida and sang to her all the old gospel songs we could think of. That was the only time we were able to get anything coherent out of her and she could remember us...when we sang about the Lord. It was beautiful.

    I'm so glad you and your family are able to have peace and be able to say goodbye.

    Praying for peace for your family now.

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  83. My heart is aching for you right now - I'm so, so sorry :(

    Your tribute to him is perfection.

    Much love and prayers being sent your way.

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  84. It's so hard to let a little piece of your heart pass on to the other side but so wonderful to see what a legacy they left behind in their wake.

    hugs and kisses to you and your poppal.

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  85. I'm so sorry, Steph. Lifting up you and your family in prayers.

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  86. Dear Steph... I'm so sorry. It's never easy to say goodbye, especially to someone so treasured. Peace to your whole family and your special Poppal...

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  87. i'm so very sorry steph. sending love and prayers your way friend. so glad your relationship's so special and you have all the amazing memories you do. your relationship is a treasure now and always. peace to you and your family.

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  88. Praying for peace... and strength... and that the memories you have will keep you moving to the arms of your Heavenly Father who loves you dearly.....

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  89. I'm so very sorry honey. I'm lifting you and your family and grandfather up in prayer. I'm glad to hear you had such a wonderful celebration with him before this happened. Much love...

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  90. I am so sorry for what you are going through. I just read your posts for the past few days. I wanted you to know that as I read this post with tears in my eyes. Tears for what you and your family are going through, and tears for what I know my family will be going through in the future. I have a 94 year old Papaw that has been such a special and active person in my life and the lives of my two little ones. Things for him are slowing down, and I am dreading what comes next. You are in my thoughts. I hope the next few days continue to be filled with peace for you and your family.

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  91. isn't it amazing how our parents and grandparents never seem "old" or "needy" untill something like this happens? i'm sure your popal loves you more than anything! i'm praying for peace of mind for you and peace at heart for him.

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  92. I'm so sorry, Steph! Praying for your sweet self right this minute.

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  93. Balling at my computer. You have such of gift of making beauty out of words. xo,
    abby

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  94. {tears}

    So sorry, Steph.

    Your relationship w/ your grandparents is beautiful, by the way. You are a caregiver, through and through.

    stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

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  95. I read this again and want to say thank you for spending so much time at his bedside playing music and loving him so much. I love you!

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