April 9, 2011

S is also for Sad. And (maybe not totally) sober.

Many of you will find this post suspect as it is not the usual Julsfare, but right about now Juls has a soul to bare.  I've mentioned on this blog a time or 2 that I spend time with my grandparents going to appts and such and that my grandfather, a mighty vibrant and old school man, has been going through some chemo for cancer for oh, I dunno, the 167th time.  He's a twice Purple Heart decorated veteran who has had MS for 20 years, has diabeties, survived a rattlesnake bite and had cancer eat away so much of his neck and jaw that after what they removed to save his life was left resembling the kind of face you see in a funhouse.  With an extra dose of fun.

Side story, because I can only attempt to explain a tiny bit of my relationship with him by doing so...

I started smoking way back when it was the cool thing to do.  I think I was 5 or maybe 14.   My mom, also a smoker, was adamant that I quit....almost as adamant as my Nana that my grandaddy give up his 40 year habit.  One Sunday/Wednesday/whatever day all 1201 of us were over at their house for a reunion/birthday/random southern family LET'S EAT event, and I snuck off behind grandaddy's workshed to have a smoke.  I was kicking rocks and having turned a corner on the only other side of the shed safe from the view of the house I came face to face with grandaddy, both of us with a cigarette raised to our faces.

I'm not sure who's eyes got bigger, because as I felt my own grow to the size of saucers I watched his do the same.  What are you gonna do?  You're busted, and you know you're busted.  We continued to look at each other while we both took a nice long puff and exhaled deeply.  And then he said to me~ "I won't tell if you won't."

That's love, y'all.  The kind of love that lets you live to fight another day, because either one of the women I mentioned above would have killed us both had they been privvy to our secret shed excursions.

Fast forward to now, and the mental knowledge that we've been told he is dying.  Having experienced my share of loss, I'm actually pretty okay with death.  It's the natural end to this life, a gateway to Heaven for those who choose it.  I know he has a house in Glory as he has lived his life for God and his family and is the kind of man that defines the very definition of the word.  He's always been strong enough to spend time on his knees, and between he and my Nana this giant family of mine has always known true unconditional love.

I went there this morning to hang out with him and was met by my Aunt Rah at the door.  She told me Grandaddy had just gone to lay down, and I could hear the warning in her voice.  I walked back to peer into the room he has shared with my Nana for more years than I have been alive, and my heart broke at the sight.  I lifted a silent prayer that his passing would be without more suffering.

Then I prayed for Nana...knowing how lost her days will be without him and concerned those days will be numbered.

Then we all walked around the white elephant in the room, had lunch and visited right up until I couldn't anymore.  I stopped off on my way home and said Hello to the Captain (morgan), mainly because I felt as if my heart could explode with love and sadness at the same time.

And then I came home and opened this window and started typing because....I don't really know why.  Just that I needed to.

And then I accidentally hit a wrong key and "published" before I was finished and several of you have in the span of the last 20 minutes sent me a text or emailed or called to see if I am okay.  (I am.)

And now my heart actually has exploded~ because there is so much love in this world and I am immeasurably blessed to be capable of the giving and receiving of it~ largely due to the influence of the man I am writing about.

Thanks for letting me share a little of his story.  It's been a great one.


  1. I love that S is for not totally sober, & I am sure that we are twin sisters from different mothers because we have about that many people when we get together for a family dinner! XOX

  2. just want you to know you are in my thoughts......and prayers. you are very lucky to have such a wondeful family life....captin morgan is a pretty good buddy to share your sorrows with, but just know all your friends out here are here for you too

  3. I'm so sorry. And so happy. And feel sooooooo much right now that my heart might explode too... You are a lucky grandchile - and he is a lucky grandpa (and I know he must be one amazing man from your stories). And you are both so wonderful that I'm going to go cry now. Love and hugs and prayers.

  4. light and love and healing for all - in whatever form that might manifest... so very very sorry to hear that your family is at this life juncture with your grandfather - grandparents are incredibly important people...
    so glad you felt able to bare your soul and receive what you need... we are blessed indeed...

  5. sending up prayers for you and that wonderful fam of yours, esp your grandparents.


  6. (((hugs))) Juli. It is so hard.

  7. Awww, my heart breaks... I think it's time we whip of some of Nana's banana puddin' and take her a big 'ole batch. Juls, I love ya, and I'm pretty sure if I were to meet the rest of your family I'd love all 1201 of them too! You're Granddaddy is a special, special man! He had to be... 'cuz down the line you showed up! Y'all be in my thoughts! Sending love... and truckloads of it!

  8. That was so beautifully written that I felt like I know your granddad and your family and feel the love. I hope he's spared a long painful exit and that you will all be joyful in the love you've shared and not sad in his death. Thank you for sharing this with us, Juls.

  9. I'm sorry for your loss, sista. What a glorious life he's had. Prayers for strength for you and yours. Love ya' - Samma

  10. I have a real clear picture of you and your granddad hiding out behind the shed sharing a smoke.
    That memory and many, many more will sustain you after he dies.

  11. My heart goes out to you in this time of sorrow. It is so good that you have such wonderful memories and thanks for sharing.

  12. i'm very new to your blog, so i don't know you very well. this was a very heart-touching post. i pray for you, your grandparents and the rest of your family. i can tell from your writing that they are a central part of your family. much love.

  13. What a beautiful story; and you are both so lucky to have had each other and your wonderful family. I, too, pray that he will have to suffer no more, that the end will be merciful and sweet. Take care of yourself, treasure these memories. There is much to be thankful for. *hugs*

  14. May these wonderful memories, and others that you hold in your heart, give you strength and comfort. Thank you for sharing your grandfather with those of us who only know you through the magic of blogs -- there are many virtual arms reaching out to embrace you and your family.

  15. It is so obvious from your stories where you got your strength. I know you will be OK. I am sending ~*TONS OF HUGS*~ cuz you can never have too many of those.

  16. Hey Juls--sending prayers and hugs your way. My Mom's family was large--she was one of 12 and it was always fun times when we got together which was often. It's hard to not have them around, but the memories are so awesome. You are so special to all of us--even those of us who've not met you in person but feel like we "know" you. Take care my friend and take a couple aspirin when you go to bed. CJ

  17. Hugs Juls, you are amazing and thanks for sharing a little bit about your granddaddy, I had a great Papa who meant the world to be and I know my life has always been better having had him in it and having loved him.

  18. Ah Juls,
    Grandparents are amazing, and sounds like you have the best. I can remember the days of passing of both my grandma and grandpa but the memories of good times override the sorrow now. May your granddaddy have a gentle passing when it comes and may you have the strength to help your grandma through it.

  19. So sorry your Granddaddy is so ill,Juls.

    Enjoy what time is left...you will always have those memories to cherish!

  20. What I would give to have had a granddaddy like yours! He's one of those special granddaddy's that everyone wishes they had. I've coveted many of my friends' grandparents - and I'm coveting yours right now. I'm glad you stopped to chat with the Captain. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do! I hope that the letter R brings you rest, relaxation, rejuvenation and RAKU!

  21. "S" could also be for sympathy, which is what my heart is feeling for you. My prayers are with you and your family.
    Feel blessed that you had such a great grandpappy, and that you & he shared a special relationship.
    LOVE to you.

  22. When we are touched so deeply by someone no matter what age we are changed. I am sending you hugs, love and thanks for giving us a peek at an amazing man that has loved you all these years. I love you Juls!

  23. You are in my heart, sending you hugs. Be good to you.

  24. breathe deep. seek peace.
    that is what I wish for you.
    the deep breaths that will remind you that you are alive and have a legacy of this great man to continue.
    the deep inward lookings that will allow you to remember with fondness this person who made a difference in your life, and the lives of countless others.
    peace to your heart and calm to your soul. this seems like the end, but it is really the beginning. that he is a strong enough man to get down on his knees...that spoke volumes to me.
    i am sharing your sorrow, miss juls. and if i were there i would envelope you in a big hug followed by a toast with the Captain about a life well lived.
    I know that this is hard, but find your 'something good' today. Enjoy the day.

  25. I'm so sorry to hear about your grandpa. All of my grandparents are gone. Sadly, I lived away from them most of my life, but remember the big dinners at my great-grandpa's house when I was really little. I loved going to his house.

    Warm hugs to you.