Saturday, November 8, 2008

Goodbye Granddaddy, and Hello Grandmother!

The day after Halloween I took the girls to Columbus to be with my family in this time of grief. The strange thing was, I had actually booked a room to stay in the assisted living on Thursday morning for Saturday - just because it was a good weekend for a visit. I knew Granddaddys time was coming but I had no idea he would pass away Friday and my visit would be for the funeral instead.

Matt had been working late all week finishing a project that was deadlined for Monday, the day of the funeral. So he stayed at home and worked Saturday and Sunday and planned on coming Monday only for the service.

The girls were great on the trip down. But when we got there I became a little worried because Leah was not acting like herself. She was very fussy - and it turned out she had a little stomach bug that caused some LOVELY diapers. Sadly, Hannah had the opposite problem so the two of them were quite uncomfortable.

Grandmother seemed to really benefit from the time she spent with the girls and I am glad I brought them, even in their more ornery moments. Plus my whole family got there Sunday or Monday and some of them had never even met H & L yet. Leah really became attached to my aunt, who I think reminded her of Grammy.

The sleeping arrangement was less than ideal. I stayed in the assisted living so that I could easily go back to my room for naps, and then go right back to grandmothers for our visits. But, even though I had a full kitchen, there was no microwave. I hate to say it but the girls still take a bottle (I am not willing to give it up and they easily go to sleep with it!). But Hannah will not TOUCH it if it is cold. Even though it may be a bad habit, if one of them wakes up screaming in the middle of the night I can give them a warm bottle and change them and they are back down in 15 minutes.

The 3 of us shared a room and I had the pack n plays right next to each other. Leah awoke around 1:30 and was obviously in a lot of stomach discomfort. She screamed and screamed. And did not appreciate a cold bottle very much. Her screaming woke up Hannah which caused her to scream and neither would calm down because they were provoking each other. I tried to give Hannah a bottle in her pack n play (out of desperation to calm one baby), but she wouldnt take it cold. Leah was so mad she was arching her back and would not be held. I finally heated some milk in a skillet (thats all I had) and gave it to Hannah which allowed her to calm down enough that I could calm Leah down. It was terrible. I was exhausted that next morning but awoke to the girls laughing at each other playing peek a boo with their blankets through the pack n plays. As if they had not put me through torture the night before! :) I got a microwave from the activity room Sunday just in case someth Luckily Sunday night and MOnday night were not as bad because I think they were both feeling a little better - and I got some gripe water, gas drops, and culturelle to try to help. :)

It was great to see family though even in the worst of circumstances. Matt came on Monday as planned and we took the girls to the service together. Granddaddy had a military funeral and burial, something I had never seen before. It was very moving when the military guys (soldiers? army guys? I dunno what they want to be called) marched in and placed the flag over the coffin. There were some old friends and neighbors there and I appreciated everyone coming to show support even if it had been 15 years since they had last seen our family.

Matt had to take Hannah out of the service because she just wanted to walk and would not tolerate being held down. Leah crawled along the pew and kept waving and saying "bye bye". They brought joy to such a sad day - and as my older sister said in reference to hearing Leah during the service "That's the sound of life!" At least Leah was appropriate in her word choices.

The burial was very hard. He was buried at Fort Benning. The flag was draped over the coffin and the military men sat next to Grandmother. They had a 21 gun salute and I lost it during "taps". But it was just what Granddaddy would have wanted. All I can say is there are way too many women in my family and a lot of sobbing. Grandmother and Granddad had a son and a daughter, which lead to them having 5 granddaughters, 2 grandsons, 7 great granddaughters and 2 great grandsons. Thats quite a legacy. But almost all girls so lots of emotions.

Unfortunately Matt missed the burial too because Leah had a MAJOR accident in the car on the way to the cemetery and had to have a complete outfit change in the back of the van. She reappeared dressed in a miss matched pink outfit with backward pants... Nice.

It was a very emotional day for all of us though. I adored my granddaddy and even though I knew this was coming, and he actually held on for a lot longer than I had anticipated it is still difficult.

On a side note though, my grandmother is moving in with my parents! For the past 5 years it had been planned for her to live with my aunt, but for whatever reason she chose to live with my dad. It has to do with her wanting to have some independence and at my parents she will have the entire upstairs to herself. This way she can keep her furniture, which she was very concerned about getting rid of and have her own place (without a stove). I am thrilled because she is the only grandparent I have left on my side of the family and I love the fact that my girls will be around her. Also, I now have the opportunity to make grandmothers life a little better than it has been for the last 5-10 years. Even though I know she was doing exactly what she wanted to be doing, she has not had much of a life since Granddad got sick.

There are so many wonderful memories my granddaddy gave me and I know I will remember them all forever. I think one of the strangest thoughts I had was when I was driving home and realized I have no reason to visit Columbus GA again. I lived there for about 10 years and after we moved to Birmingham in 1993, I have visited frequently. Now I have no reason to visit so that chapter of my life is closed. At least grandmother is close by now!

I love you Granddaddy. May you rest in peace in Gods glory, and the 8 people you said were waiting on you.