Sunday, February 5, 2012
Everyone has a Papa...
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.