The first person who I witnessed slowly making the transition toward leaving this side of life was my maternal grandfather, it’s so hard to believe that today it has been exactly twenty one years since granddaddy’s earthly journey ended. I was 15 years old in 1998 when a short battle with lung cancer started to take its toll on my granddaddy’s body. After about a year or so of chemotherapy and radiation therapy Granddaddy decided that he’d had enough and he put his life all in God’s hands. That summer is one that I think I will always remember, because it was the start of some life changing events that shaped the way that I currently think about life and death.
It’s a time in my life that I’ll always be grateful for, because it taught me about being grateful for people who truly love me and to cherish the time that God gives me with my loved ones. When my Granddaddy’s earthly body started to prepare itself to transition into the next life he had to be placed under hospice care and that was something I never knew anything about until that time. Because of my physical limitations there weren’t a lot of ways that I could help with taking care of my granddaddy while he was on his deathbed, but I could feed him while he was still able to eat and sit and talk with him. I’m infinitely grateful that God allowed me moments when it was just Granddaddy and I in his room together and I could tell him that I loved him beyond measure, so I’m confident that he died knowing my love for him.
I remember that Thursday morning like it was yesterday. A couple days before Granddaddy drifted into what I like to think of as a state of complete calmness, because he knew he was on his way to a much better place and life. I’ve never said it to anyone but I had a sad feeling that death wasn’t very far away. I’m sure the whole family was feeling it, but praying for just a few more days with Granddaddy or even for a miracle. When I think back upon that time, I always find it interesting that several nights before Granddaddy’s death I slept in the bed in his room, while Granddaddy was asleep on his hospital bed and the night hospice nurse was watching over him, but I’ve come to the conclusion that God had a plan that didn’t include me being in the room when Granddaddy made his final transition, because that night I slept in another bedroom. I always wonder how I would have reacted if the nurse had woken me up with the news of Granddaddy’s death. I remember my daddy waking me up early the morning of June 4, 1998, before the sun had arisen telling me that my granddaddy died. It didn’t hit me immediately, I don’t remember crying until later on that afternoon when I went in the room and the sight of the empty hospital bed brought me to tears. Y’all know I still have a really difficult time wrapping my mind around the fact that Daddy died just nine months later. Twenty one years later it’s still difficult to repair my heart after death took two of the men I loved, admired and respected most in the world within nine months of one another.
Growing up as a little girl I absolutely adored my granddaddy for so many reasons, one being that he bought me whatever I wanted, all I had to do was ask. I always felt like I was his favorite grandchild. I often reminisce about admiring the fact that when my granddaddy who was a plumber until his health failed him wasn’t in his work uniform, there was no way he was going to step out not dressed well, looking sharp and smelling good. As I started to get a bit older I began to value my relationship with my granddaddy for much deeper reasons. One trait I wish that I had inherited from my granddaddy is that he was the type of person who never ever gave a damn about how people felt about him and his choices, I definitely aspire to be more like my granddaddy in that way.
When I am at my grandparents’ house now, I often wish that I could go in granddaddy’s bedroom, sit on his bed with him and just listen to whatever he had to say as I did so many times in the 15 years God gave us, because that’s one of the things I miss the most about being his granddaughter. I always learned something from just listening to my granddaddy and I cherish those times. As I am writing these words I can hear my granddaddy referring to me as “the cat that the kittens don’t know about. I think I got to see a side of my granddaddy that he didn’t show everyone, especially those outside of his family and I am tremendously grateful for that. Most people might have thought that Granddaddy was a bit of a Scrooge but to me he was one of the most loving and affectionate people in my world, I miss laying my head on his strong shoulder when nothing seems to be going right in the world and having a grandfather who just wanted to make my world alright.
I am so thankful to God because for 15 years of my life, Silas Delaware was my granddaddy, a man who I know without any doubt loved me and was proud of me. I am grateful that even though my granddaddy was literally on his deathbed each time he saw me he smiled because that’s just how special our bond was. I feel honored to be his granddaughter. I’m sure my granddaddy is watching over his wife of 50 years, his five children, five grandchildren, & the four great grandsons who he never got to meet smiling with pride at his family and bragging about us to everyone in Heaven.
That’s just my perspective!💜