That La Kid

wishin' an' hopin'!


I’ve got to do something. My size 16s won’t zip and my 18s are baggy like a potato sack. So… let’s weigh the options:

Looks like I have no choice.

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I remember being out of toilet paper.  I remember that.  The rolls in my bathroom are still new, in the package.  I remember last week when Styler was here thinking, “crap, we’re almost out of t.p.!” (Pun intended.)  I remember Tom buying it and dispersing it throughout the house.  And then, time stopped.  Here it is almost a week to the day and I’m just now opening it.  Life was different when we bought that toilet paper.  We were trying to go up to Charlottesville every weekend because we weren’t sure how many weekends Paw Paw had with us.  Mom was trying to balance care of the generation that came before her and time with the newest.  I wasn’t sad.  I guess that’s the main thing.  I remember how not-sad I was when we bought that toilet paper.  It’s funny how it takes an overwhelming sadness to understand and appreciate not being sad.

As I write this, it’s 7:46.  I woke up today at 6:45ish which, before daylight savings time, was about the time Mom called to say Paw Paw’s not doing too good.  I didn’t know what that means.  But I jumped out of bed and started packing.  Then I jumped in the car and started driving.  That early morning was Paw Paw’s last morning with us.  And he never woke to enjoy the warm sunlight on his face one last time.

Speaking of overwhelming emotions, just two weeks ago at this exact time, I woke in my All-Star Resort room at Walt Disney World.  I was getting ready for my Limited Time Magic behind the scenes tour at Epcot.  I was so overwhelmingly happy.  I’d spent the wee hours of the night before at Magic Kingdom, so I was SO tired.  It’s funny, by comparison to this past week, I didn’t know what tired was.

Bruce and I got to Charlottesville around 2 pm on Tuesday.  Aaaand we arrived without Bruce’s suitcase, so that was going to be an adventure.  Everyone was at Todd’s house, at Maw Maw’s house, at the house where Paw Paw grew up.  (Interestingly, Paw Paw is Maw Maw’s son.  You would think they were the grandparents, but no.  Maw Maw and Gran are my great-grandparents.  Gammy and Paw Paw are my grandparents.)  We did a lot of nothing, a lot of sitting on the front porch.  Some of us took Bruce to the park.  Mom and I walked down the hill to the little corner store and bought soda and candy.  Paw Paw lay in Maw Maw’s dining room, and we waited.

Tom bought a bus ticket.  He was coming into Richmond at 3:30 am.

Three cardinals appeared at the windowsill that morning.  A male and two little females.  We decided that was Maw Maw, Gran and Gammy.

We had Chipotle and Raisin’ Cane’s for dinner.   Haley and I left around 10:30?  10:45?  We went to put Bruce to bed at my parents’ house.  Haley and I were going to leave around 2:00 am to pick up Tom from the Megabus stop in Richmond, so Mom was going to come home before then.  That would give me 3 hours to nap.  Well, it would have if Bruce wasn’t too tired to sleep.  He decided he’d rather scream in delirium for an hour.

Around midnight, Dad called.  Paw Paw was gone.

It was about 2:00 before Mom made it home.  I was walking downstairs to leave for Richmond alone.  Haley was asleep.  I figured I’d let her keep sleeping and stay with Bruce.  Mom and I met on the steps.  I hope I never forget her face.  She had to have been exhausted, but she glowed.

I asked her how it happened.

She said, “Well, it was about 11:30, and Trudy said, ‘You have to go soon, you should sit by Daddy for a while.’  So, I got in over beside him and held his hand.  I like to hold it right there,” she motioned to the beefy part of her own palm, by her thumb, “because that’s where I give him his pills everyday.  We sat for a while, and I said, ‘What time is it?’  Trudy said, ’11:39.’  And I said, ‘well, I’ll stay five more minutes.’  He squeezed my hand!  And then he started to pull away, I mean, his arms went up and I let go of his hand.  His arms came to his chest, he turned his head and he was gone.”

I didn’t cry.  I just stood there on the steps in awe.  “I think he was telling me to let go,” she said.  Paw Paw had gotten to the point where he’d go anywhere with Mom, and no where without her.  Church is a good example.  If Mom wasn’t going, if she was in Charlotte for instance, he’d skip that week.  I’m glad that she told him 5 more minutes.  I don’t think he felt like he needed to hang on if she was leaving.  He left this world surrounded by his 5 children.  I told her that it’s like they witnessed his soul exiting his body with such force that it physically drew his body upwards.

My first thought was of Gammy running to meet him.

It’s interesting.  If feels like a week ago, and it feels like yesterday.

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cannot wait Ticker Ticker

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