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.