Psalm 45:10-11, 13-15

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take heart to what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. [...] The bride, a princess, waits within her chambers, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful, enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jimmy O: My Processing

As some of you know, my grandfather (my dad’s father, who we call PawPaw) had been hospitalized for a few weeks and Saturday I got a call from my mom saying that the doctor’s said the family needed to make a decision of when to take him off life support. So, Joe and I decided that I should go back (with Joey) to be with my family for a few weeks.

PawPaw passed away on Monday afternoon. To put it simply, his immune system was weak, his kidney couldn't function, and his lungs were filled with fluid. Machines had been keeping him alive since Thursday. He was transferred to another hospital on Thursday and remained in ICU until his death. In his living will he stated that he didn't want to be kept alive by machines. So, after a biopsy came back showing no change, MawMaw called the family to come and say good-bye.

They all came, children and grandchildren, they stood around him as he was taken off the machines, while the nurse increased his morphine drip anytime it seemed he was struggling. He was gone within 15 minutes. He was gone.

I wanted to be there. I wanted to see him just one last time. That was my PawPaw. He wasn't just grandfather. He was the pillar of our family. Strong. Determined. Stubborn. He was my Indian Granddaddy that I was (am!) so proud of. How many people don't graduate high school, yet go on to start their own business? And, a chemical business at that!

He faced opposition, because of the color of his skin and overcame. He raised a family. Five children. Fourteen grandchildren. Four great-grandchildren. He had a heart as large as the ocean and gave generously. He loved people, telling stories, and teasing you. You can't think of PawPaw without also thinking of his Indian drums, love for western movies, and that tractor...

I can't help but be proud of him. To think much of him, even with all his idiosyncrasies. To me, he was an overcomer. An example to keep pressing on. Nothing's impossible with hard work and prayer. Excuses aren't necessary, just give it a try, even in the face of opposition. He was a man i could look up to.

He was my PawPaw, and for that, I loved him.

Still, I can't believe he's gone. It's unreal to me. Sitting in MawMaw's house this afternoon, even looking at his pictures on the coffee table, I fully expected him to come walking through the door or to see him riding across the lawn on the tractor.

It'd be so natural.

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