Thursday, July 28, 2011


When your absence doesn’t alter someone’s life, then your presence has no meaning either. ~Unknown

If you had asked me 4 weeks ago what my plans were for today, I couldn’t have told you. I couldn’t have forecasted how things would change so quickly, about how my life would change so quickly. I could have only answered with an “I don’t know”, and then a question of why you wanted to know. Mostly because I’m nosey, and I want to know everything.

Today we celebrate the life of someone who’s absence has definitely left an impact on my life. His presence most certainly did, so it makes since that his death would too.

You see, today we are celebrating the life of Papa.

When we moved in with him 3 years ago, we never intended it for it to be a long-term solution, even thought Papa wanted it to be that way. At 29 we both needed a space, and Papa wanted to share his, so at the time it was the perfect solution for us. We gave him the company that he desperately wanted, and he gave us a house.

In the next 3 years, utter chaos ensued. Ok, Not really, but it was definitely a learning curve for all of us. Papa was technology hungry, yet illiterate of how to work the machine. My solution to every technological problem from the computer to the microwave is to “reboot it”. If that doesn’t fix it, do it again, just for good measure. Because Papa was more a hand’s on fix-it type of person, my solution drove him crazy, and I remember him calling me at work a few months ago, and asking me how to fix his computer, and before I could respond, he said “I know, I know, reboot it.” and then proceeded to hang up on me. I didn’t know if I should have be mad at him for hanging up on me or proud that some of my sarcasm had finally rubbed off on him.

We learned so much about David, Dona, and Debra. We heard stories of their childhood antics, things that they have done as an adult, pets, jobs, the Gaither’s, and the people who worked with him at Lowe’s. We learned about Cubby, and Franswah the infamous poodle. We heard the stories about Dona and Franswah, we heard stories about Debra’s hearing problems and the frustration that a parent feels when there was nothing that could be done. We heard about the famous, and sometimes strange people that he drove in his cab. We heard the stories of how he pulled a fast one on Bee-pa and took him for a steak dinner with white wine mashed potatoes. He loved that he had snuck the wine in, and that Bee-pa was none the wiser.

We learned how to tile a floor, how replace a front door, how to repair a sprinkler system, and how to be humble. We saw on a daily basis of the amount of drugs that he took just to keep him functioning. I can’t begin to imagine the kind of pain that he lived with on a daily basis. I can’t imagine going to work everyday and not sitting at my desk crying, but actually working and having a sense of humor about life in general, the strength that he had to have to endure that had to be immense.

I remember his concern when my dad was lying in a hospital bed, and his help with volunteering to fix his own dinner and fend for himself for a few days so that I could be there for my mother. He knew that I was tired and feeling very lost and overwhelmed, and he let me vent and cry, and instead of telling me it would be ok. He just said to have faith.

I remember the conversations that we had when Brad was out of town about the anger and hurt that I felt by my own body’s betrayal. He could relate better than most. He listened while I cried, and he helped me find the courage to grieve for the child that we might not ever have and to move forward. He helped me find peace and acceptance, and then he prayed, and he left verses and thoughts on the table for me to find when I went to work the next few days.

Then, even though he wasn’t really thrilled about me going to Tech, he knew that it was what I needed to do, to start to rebuild my life, and he supported it, even when he didn’t want to. He was proud, but constantly reminded me that the things worth knowing couldn’t be found at a university, and that a degree didn’t guarantee happiness.

He taught me that there isn’t anything that time, a Gaither’s video, and a snack of chips and salsa wouldn’t cure.

At the time, we thought he was only sharing his house with us, but instead, when we moved out, we discovered that he had been sharing a lot more.

We learned that if you wanted to have a real conversation with him, that you first had to find something that he was passionate about, or have a question about something that only his expertise could provide an answer. Getting him talking about anything police related and he could talk for hours; sharing stories of some of the pranks that he pulled as well as some of the cases that he worked on.

Instead of a grandfather, John and I both found a friend. We found someone who cheered us on and laughed with us. We found someone who loved us even when he had seen us at our best and at our worst. We found someone who encouraged us to communicate and to laugh at our mistakes. We found someone that would drop everything if we needed him.

Papa’s absence has definitely caused a gap in our lives and in our hearts. And his presence will be missed.
His friendship will be missed.

Our lives have been changed, in ways we hadn’t really realized or even understood until his death was imminent. Today, I’m thankful for the tremendous impact that his life, his words, and his actions has on my own life. He was a wonderful example of a Godly man, friend, co-worker, and grandfather. Although he often alienated himself from family, they meant more to him than they will ever know.

I’m thankful that he is sitting around telling stories and catching up with the friends and family that have gone on before him. I’m thankful that because of the choices that we have made that some day, we will be together again. I’m thankful that he is pain free, and singing with angels, and I look forward to seeing him again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Public Service Announcement

Dear Lubbock Drivers,

I realize that you, like myself are just trying to get from point A to point B intact, and in a reasonable amount of time. You would like to avoid any accidents, fender benders, heavy traffic and flat tires.

However, your driving skills are sadly lacking. You pull out in front of me, causing me to slam on my breaks, swerve into another lane to avoid hitting you, and then you have the nerve to give me the #1 driver award. You text, you talk on your cell phone, and you have little regard for those people around you. You speed around me, doing well above the posted speed limit, weaving in and out of traffic. You run red lights. You have little disregard for other drivers on the road; we are simply an inconvenience, and something that must be eliminated from your path.

If your stupidity were to cause an accident that was to end my life, my family wouldn’t care that you were running late to work, or to pick up your kids, or to the grocery store. I wouldn’t care either. My life would have been cut short, because you are in a hurry, and you are trapped in your own little bubble worrying about your family and your kids.

What about my family? They would feel my loss just as much as your family would. Would you like for the cops to show up on your doorstep and tell your children that the no longer have a mother or a father, because of a careless driver? It would devastate your family, as it would mine. My life isn’t anymore or any less valuable than yours.

So next time that you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, think about saving a life and watching the road, allowing plenty of time to reach your destination, the life you save, just might be your own.

Thank you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Saying Goodbye

I have dreaded today since July 5th. We knew that we would have to make it official and say our goodbyes, and move forward, I just didn't realize how hard it was going to be. I have quickly learned that each person that departs this life for the here-after, whatever that might be, that you grieve for each person differently.

When my Gangie died, I remember being numb. I can't remember much from the days and weeks after his death. I know that most nights I drove around and did my newspaper route, crying like my heart was broken. Which it was.

When my grandmother died, I remember the numb feeling, but I also remember the grief for my childhood. She was a big part of so many different memories, and the more I have developed a love for cooking, the more I miss her. It was still heart breaking, but I don't remember feeling numb, our relationship was different then.

When Grandpa past away in April, it was different. We weren't as close, and I didn't feel the impact like I did with my own grandparents, whom I had a very, very close relationship with. So it was normal. It felt normal.

Yet with Papa, because it's so recent and so new, and because of my own special relationship with him, it's mind numbing again. It's exhausting. I find myself going to bed at night and getting up the next day and I feel like I haven't slept in days. Then I look at my father-in-law and his sisters and can't even begin to imagine how hard it is to lose a parent. I know that your supposed to bury your parents and never your children, but I don't think that either can be easy. I don't think that there is any cure all, other than time.

What makes this so hard is the fact that it feels like we have drug this all out since July 4th. We are just beginning. Even though he's officially been gone since the 16th, until Friday, he won't be really gone.

Amazingly so, I'm looking forward to the memorial service. I'm looking forward to listening to my father in law, and his sisters tell stories about their dad. I'm looking forward to the family that will be gathering to celebrate his life. I'm looking forward to the new memories that we will be making and sharing with our kids and with our cousins kids later.

Because like it or not, death is a part of life, and without an ending, life would be meaningless.

Friday, July 22, 2011

5 Question Friday

It's been a long few weeks around here. I have (shocking I know) several posts lined up for next week. Things are changing round these parts again. There will be some exciting information released next week.

This weekend my husband and I are doing our final clean out of the items at Papa's house. Then I'm not going back. For my sanity, for my mental health, I need to say goodbye to that house and move on. It's time to let it go.

We are just taking it easy and relaxing this weekend and trying to catch up on some rest.

Have a happy weekend!

1. If your husband had the BIG V and you got pregnant what would your first reaction be? For the dudes, what would your first reaction be if your wife told you she was pregnant after the Big V?

Well, a part of me would be thrilled, because let's face it, I.don't.get.pregnant. So any surprise in that area would be welcome. Although, because we would have taken measures to ensure that no babies enter our home, it would be bad timing. Although, is it every good timing? There is always something going on in your life to make you wait.

Then, I would make sure my husband didn't chicken out when at the doctor, because let's face it, most guys are all for the sympathy for a few days while their man-parts heal, but most of them don't want anyone with a scalpel anywhere near them either.
2. Best memory about this summer so far.

Amazingly so, sitting in Papa's hospital room telling stories and laughing with family. Those moments, and memories will always be treasured.
3. How often do you change your sheets? Your kids sheets?

Every week. Without fail. You sweat, you go to bed slightly dirty, I can sleep like that for a week, but come the weekend the sheets have to go. And they are changed. About once a month I wash the mattress pad, and every 2-3 I wash the comforter. I'm all about the clean. When it quits smelling like clean laundry, it's time for a run through the washing machine.
4. Having just gone through TSA, would you rather have a full-body scan or a pat-down?

Full body scan. Because I realize that they are doing there job, but someone, somewhere is enjoying feeling you up. And I refuse to be touched and felt all over. I understand that they are trying to prevent tragedies like 9-11 from being repeated, but on the other hand, feeling my breasts isn't going to do that.
5. Since it is fair time...what's your favorite fair (county or state) memory?

Ug. It's fun to go, but not really. I hate the rides, I hate the vendors. We simply go for the food. Cotton Candy to be precise. It's like crack. It's fluffy, awesome sweetness is just...awesome. We usually have a turkey leg, cheesecake on a stick, and cheese on a stick. And call it good. Otherwise, I could do without it. Although, now that I'm selling Scentsy, I could sell to the masses and make millions and retire.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Patience is a Virtue

The past week has been one of the longest weeks of my life. We have waited. We have prayed, we have cried, we have hoped, we have lived. We have survived on little sleep, poor diets and broken hearts. We have waited.

Today, we still wait. Today, we wonder. We hope. We hope for peace. Each day we watch him decline. We watch seziures that result in the brain damage. We pray for him to find peace. We pray for him to let go. We pray that whatever is keeping his body and spirit from moving on, comes soon. We pray for each other. We try to go to work and about our lives as best we can, knowing what the outcome is going to be. We know it's just a matter of time.

I don't believe that some miracle will occur and that Papa will wake up and be really made that we have sold his stuff to pay for his funeral expenses. I don't believe that he is going to wake up one day and be able to speak and talk to us. I believe that death is inevitable.

But what right do I have to not believe in anything? What right to I have to not believe in a miracle? What right to have not to believe in general?

I know when my husband has a severe wreck that I prayed that he was OK. I prayed that he would be ok. I prayed that the people in the other car would be ok. When my dad had a heart attack, I prayed. I hoped that he would be ok. I hoped that he would slow down, I hoped he would be around for a while longer.

Yet each sickness and each event that has occured within the last week, I have simply asked that God's will be done. His will. Not mine. His. It's not that I don't want Papa to be around for another 50 years, but each time I find myself praying, I start out asking for his comfort and his peace, and then I find myself telling God that his will be done. Not mine. His.

So for the past few days I have wondered how differently my thoughts, my faith, my marriage, and my life in general would have been if I had prayed for things differently. If I took the control out of my hands and put it back completely where it belongs. I'm a control freak by nature, I like to know what's going on, and offer my opinion on how to fix it. I like to know what's happening at 2pm tomorrow and the day after that. I like structure, routine, control. Then that gets me to questioning my infertility. I have always said that it was all up to God, but that's been one of many areas of my life that I just haven't been willing to turn over. That I haven't been willing to let go of. Sure, we go about our daily lives, but there is always a part of me that wants a baby, I grieve for the child that I have never had. After the past week, I have been led to wonder what would happen if I handed the control back over. If I let go.

The situation with Papa is definitely in someone else's hands now. We continue to pray, we continue to hope that his comfortable, and that he is at peace.

Still we wonder? What's God waiting for? What's the big plan? What are we missing?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day

Independence Day. After the last forty-eight hours those words will have a whole new meaning.

Today we wait. We wait for test results. We hope. We pray. We reminisce. We hope.

Last night we talked about the pain that Papa has suffered with. We talked about how hard that would be. We tried to prepare ourselves for the worst, all the time hoping for the best.

Sunday morning John's phone rang and we got the news. Papa had suffered a heart attack in the early morning hours. As we got to the emergency room, we were unprepared for the sight of him laying on the gurney, with a respirator sitting with him, helping him to breath.

We learned that the nursing home staff had found him, at approximately 4 am unconscious and in respiratory distress. They began to administer CPR, and in the process of trying to get him breathing again, he went into cardiac arrest. We have no idea of how long his brain was deprived of oxygen. But we hope.

Sunday evening we heard the results of the CT scan and we were pleased that there was no brain injury, mass, or bleeding. We continued to hope. Yet, we knew that the neurological consult would give us more answers.

Today, we hear the news of his lack of response. My heart just broke. As prepared as I thought I was for this outcome, for the possibility of no recovery, hearing that he was unresponsive as they poked and prodded him, I knew that the outcome wouldn't be what we wanted.

Yesterday, July 4th, was supposed to be a time of celebration and joy. It was supposed to be a day of celebrating our nation's struggle to become independent, to celebrate the birth of our government. Instead, it became a celebration of something else.

It became a celebration of life.

48 hours ago, Papa sat in a nursing home waiting for tomorrow when he would return home. 48 hours ago, things were fine. Until a little respiratory problem became a big problem, that led to a heart attack, that led to oxygen deprivation, that led to severe brain damage.

Last night we were given the prognosis. Last night, a son and two daughters made the choice to give their father his independence. They made the choice to send him home. They gave God the freedom for his will to be done.

And today, we wait. We wait for those beautiful moments when God's divine plan will shine through. We wait for those moments when a child will be reunited with the friends and family that have gone before him. We wait for the moment that his spirit is free from his body and that he goes home.

Over the last few weeks we have felt so guilty about the choices that we have made to move out. To move on with building our life. We have struggled with finding peace about the choices we have made.

Yet today as I write this, and as I have had conversations with Papa's beautiful daughters, I have found that peace. I have also seen God at work in all of our lives in ways that I have never seen Him at work before. And that has been beautiful. The duplex that we are renting fell into our laps. It was perfect. Size wise, price wise, location wise. It took days from the time we looked at it, until the lease was signed. Days. The day we signed the lease was the day that we learned that Papa was coming home from the nursing home. Several days later we told him of our departure from his home. And while there were times of strain and tension on our relationship during the 2 weeks that he was home before we moved out, we all tried to make the best out of the situation. We moved out the day after he went back to the nursing home to undergo 2 weeks of rehab and therapy to regain some of the strength that he had lost.

His two weeks was up tomorrow. He was supposed to go home tomorrow. Now I believe that he will go home tomorrow, just not to the one he owns.

There have been so many moments in my life when I have seen God at work. When I have felt his presence, his comfort, his love. There have been times when I have seen his plan revealed and there are times when it has been harder to find. There have been days where I have questioned my faith, and his presence in my life. Yet yesterday I realized that he knew that today was coming. He knew that our lives were going to be turned upside down and our hearts inside out. He knew. He spent the last two weeks helping us to get ready, of finding our home and setting it up. He spent the last two weeks making sure that we wouldn't have to go back to his house and stay there knowing that Papa would never sit in his recliner or walk down the hall or see his babies again. And for that I will always be thankful.

I can imagine that the next few days and weeks will be hard. I can imagine that as we all move forward with our lives that there will be moments of intense sadness and intense joy as we celebrate his life and as we share our memories of him.

Today I'm thankful that God is in charge. Today I'm thankful that he prompted Papa's daughters to come and that they were here yesterday with their big brother and that he had put the idea in there heads a month ago to come here to see their dad this weekend, even though they decided on a date at the end of the month. I'm thankful that our entire family will be able to lean on him and find comfort and peace in the days and weeks to come. I'm thankful that our family has each other.

Friday, July 1, 2011

5 Question Friday

Happy Independence Day! If you live in Texas we aren't celebrating with fireworks this year! So I don't have to listen to my neighbors pop fireworks until 2am this year! WoooHoooo!!!!!! Sometimes droughts are a good thing.

Unfortunately this weekend is like Black Friday. It's my husband's busiest weekend of the year. I'm pretty sure that when we got to bed tonight I won't see him again until sometime Tuesday. He comes in when I'm in bed and goes to work before even the chickens think about getting up. With no fireworks shin-dig at the farm this year, I'll be just hanging out at home. I'm going to go do a little shopping. I need some curtains that match our bedroom, a birthday gift for my bestest girlfriend, and a few food related items. Otherwise I will be cleaning, unpacking (yes, we are still not done), and getting stuff ready for the yard sale (YUCK), that unfortunately I think is inevitable.

Have a beautiful weekend.
PS. I actually have a couple of posts for next week. Who knew taking the pressure off would let me come up with stuff to talk about.

1. If you had the opportunity to bungee jump, would you?


I see no point in finding out if elastic and gravity still work. I figure if my underwear doesn't fall off my butt that elastic is good, and I'm walking around not floating that gravity is good too.

I heard this once, and it describes how I feel about this situation PERFECTLY. "I entered this world because of a broken rubber, I'm not leaving because of one."
2. Would you rather go to the movie theater or to the drive-in?

Well, since I have never been to the drive in I can't comment. But probably the movie theater. Less bugs + more air conditioning = a happier me.

Although the idea would be fun of the drive in. But ours here does double features. And since it doens't get dark enough for them to start the first movie until 10, it's like midnight when #2 starts. My parents went a few weeks ago, and they had a 45 minute drive home afterwards, and it was like 3am when they got home. Uh yeah, they would be coming to tap on our window to wake us up to go home.

3. Do you have your groceries delivered?

Nope, mostly because it isn't an option where I live.

But if it was. I would absolutely take advantage. I hate going to the grocery store. I absolutely loathe it. I would rather have a root canal.

Plus think about how much cheaper it would be without all those things that were "calling your name".
4. Eyebrows: Do you wax, thread, pluck, or stay au naturel?

Hello, my name is Abby and I have a unibrow. (Thanks Gangie.)

My eyebrows are a little wild. I typically pluck and shave. They have these awesome little razors that are specifically made for your eyebrows. They work wonders, then I pluck the strays. Because I have a ton of strays. Sometimes I think that my eyebrows are like growing a patch, because I pluck them from other areas around my eye, besides the brow area.

I would wax if it wasn't so expensive. But the cheapest place here charges $15. And I can shave and pluck for almost free.

5. Would the people you went to high school with be surprised by your life today?

I figure a few would. I had big plans to be a farmer. Actually I really wanted to go to college, but they all probably thought I would never get married (yet I was one of the first out of my class) and that if I did, he would be a farmer, not a city boy.
But for the most part, I think that they would be jealous. Because I'm just so super cool like that.
Have a Happy Independence Day.


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