Sunday, February 5, 2012

Everyone has a Papa...

Some papa's play small roles in their grandchildren's lives. This was not the case for me or my girls.My papa Jim played the roll of papa,mentor,stand-in father(when need be) & an outstanding human being.Gracious,Generous and very Hardworking.Some could argue these descriptions of him when it came to the end of his life.But I look at it like this: Someone who dedicated his life to others( his children first and foremost), helped troubled youth for 30 plus years out at the Old' Boys Ranch and loved his wife more than anything,deserved a rest.
My papa Jim stepped in when my family was in great need.When my mom passed away,his only daughter,his generosity unfolded.Between helping out with my younger sister and brother to financially supporting me through college and beyond,He helped keep the dark path we often found ourselves on lit with hope and forgiveness and unconditional love that not many others offered at the time,for our broken hearts and souls.Back then it was a hard lesson to learn of humanity and what people chose to do when confronted with death.Abandonment was rampant.Friends and family stopped calling and some were never heard from again.As a 15 year old, it was hard to rationalize and make sense of.So anger and resentment built up. But papa Jim's love softened those blows too.
As time passed and grand babies were introduced to papa Jim, our tiny family started to bloom .Life and joy was palpable again.Although the toll of losing their daughter took a fierce vengeance on my grama, she tried with all that was left of her to enjoy these moments too.But sometimes,I know, your soul never fully recovers from such a loss.

Over the summer, I was thrown into a very complicated situation.Both heartbreaking and beautiful.While On a trip to visit my grandparents, my papa fell ill and required more care than was being given.I couldn't leave.That was the easiest decision that needed to be made.With Sam needing to go back to work,I stayed with the girls for 3 1/2 weeks.Heartbreaking because I knew my papa was dying.Beautiful because the conversations had,moments shared with him were treasured by myself and the girls like gold.Nothing can take that away.

In Oct of 2011, on a warm Sunday morning,I received a text stating that my papa was dying.Most likely not to make it through the day.I was down there by 1:00 in the afternoon.I was not prepared for what I was about to walk into.I sat and held his hand.Talked about the girls.Cried like a little girl at his bedside.For this was the man who out lived my own mom.A staple in my life.Every little thing,conversation,moment of him started flashing in my mind.I sat with him to the end.I felt like I owed it to him.I was so young when my mom passed away and was so angry that I didn't even say goodbye to her properly.This was my peace with both.I'm blessed,truly blessed to have been there with him in the end.Tragic,yes,but what a Great Man to see through to the end.He deserved so much more than just me and my brother's presence.It was how it should have been though. A beautiful goodbye.
More recently, I have realized how those few weeks  we spent down there impacted the girls,more so Bay. She asks about papa Jim a lot.And today, she wrote these little ( stories ) about him in her Hello Kitty journal. She asked me how to spell everything.All in her words though. She carries around the photo above,like a golden treasure. Some days I find it stuck in the slats of her bunk bed,other days pinned to her name banner.She loved him so.More than I realized or gave her credit for.And last summer will go down in history and her memory forever.And I wouldn't have it any other way.I was able to show her what you are supposed to do when your family is hurting and sick.Because it's not about you anymore at the end of a loved ones life.It's about them,as it should be.Papa Jim, you are missed everyday.Thank you for teaching me humility, generousity  and forgiveness.I am a better person today for having you in my life.


  1. That was so beautiful. All of it. I'm happy that you found peace here with your papa Jim. I pray that you continue to find pockets of peace on your own journey. Your mom would be so proud. Don't ever forget that.
    Hugs and love

  2. Zoe, thank you for sharing this beautiful experience that brought me to tears. I, too, had a Papa Jim, but we called him Poppy Jerry. I loved him so much and was always there for him when he became sick. I treasure that I was there for him in his time of need, just as he had been there for me my entire life, my supportive grandpa.
    Wonderful memories, and so special for your daughters to have made memories with him. Rare to experience great grandparents. You can keep his memory alive by talking about recollections of him. Your girls will carry the stories with them always. You're a wonderful grand daughter, and yes, your mom is so proud of you!!! Xoxoxo

  3. I hope so Megan...I often wonder.He just deserved to be honored after suffering so much over the summer.Thank you for always encouraging me and reminding me of my Momma's love and heart.xoxo

  4. Thankx V,something about papa's huh? So special.I remember his hands a lot too.From years of working in his shop,rough but gentle.I miss him more than I think too.