Monday, August 17, 2009
Good-Bye Mammaw and Pappaw
Jeff's grandmother on his mom's side, Mammaw Small, has been in the nursing home for a few years now. She was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1981. The last year has been rough for her in that she could barely even get out of bed and talk above a whisper. It was very hard to watch her go through that. She buried her husband back in the summer of 1993. So I know that she was so ready to go and meet him again in heaven but her little body just wouldn't quit. She finally went to be home with the Lord on July 24 at the age of 80. So we packed up and drove down to Many, La on the 26th and got there just in time for the end of the viewing. It was so great to see all of the family. It's so sad that it is so hard for all of us to get together at the same time! Her service was on Monday morning. Jeff was a pall-bearer and the girls did really well.
Then 2 1/2 weeks later we get the call that Pappaw Troha died on the morning of August 9. He was so ready to go...we know because he told us several times. He buried Mammaw in March of 1995 ~ less than two years after Pappaw Small. So back we went to Many for the second funeral. Jeff had worked Saturday night and had to work again Sunday night. I didn't want to wake him up just to tell him, so I waited until he woke up. We left on Monday after I was done at the hospital. Again, it was so great that everyone of us was all there together....Dad even flew Rob in from San Francisco. Pappaw started living with Mom and Dad while I was pregnant with Kendall. He so enjoyed the girls coming over so much. He would just laugh and laugh at them. It was fun tryig to figure out who was having more fun ~ Pappaw or the girls. I am so grateful that we were able to spend so much time with him during his last 3 years. That definitely made saying good-bye so much easier. I was curious how the girls would take his passing since they had spent so much time with him. I didn't keep them out of the viewing ~ I felt like they could decide what they wanted to do. Kendall just wanted to hug and kiss him over and over. She asked if he was sleeping or "night-night" so I told her yes he was. She leaned over and said, "Sweet dreams." It was all I could do to keep it together (and still is as I'm typing this now). I'm not one that has ever wanted to look at anyone in a casket. I don't know if it's because I don't want my last visual memory to be of them dead in a casket or what, but I think that Avery is the same way.
I will say that this was a huge learning experience for me that I didn't expect to get. There are 2 things that I learned from this. First, I learned that I need to let someone go if they are ready to go. By that I mean no feeding tubes or whatever I can do to sustain their lives anymore than what they want. I have never thought about this before really. This isn't easy to do but I think it's what is right. In other words, if Mom just starts deteriorating later in life, I'm not going to do everything I can to keep her alive just so she won't die. If her body starts shutting down, I'm going to let it do that if that's what she wants (but I will do what I can to keep her comfortable and out of pain). If she wants to live on machines then I'll let her do that ~ either way it's her choice to make. I pray that I don't have to make that decision, but I'm much more prepared to do that now if it does come to that.
The second thing that I learned is that I am by no means ready in any shape or form to lose my Mom. I can't even think about it yet. I'm praying that she takes after her Aunt Doris and is able to fix her roof in her 80s. Well, I know that she wouldn't just because she has a bad knee, but that she could if it weren't for that. I can't imagine what I would do without my in-laws either. That might sound funny, but since I've known them since I was 16 they feel more like parents to me than in-laws. I'm so very blessed by that. But I realize now that it's my parents' turn next since all of their parents are gone now. I pray that they live long, high-quality lives.
Thank you, Father, for giving me 2 sets of parents and for me never wondering if I was loved or not. I know that I have been blessed beyond measure with the family and friends that You have surrounded me with and I thank You for that.
Mom, Mammaw Small, Kendall, Jeff & Avery
Uncle Joes, Pappaw, Aunt Debra, Uncle Gary & Dad
Pappaw and all of his grandkids (except Jeff since he was working of course)
Taken on his 89th birthday in May 2009