Tuesday, August 21, 2007

When We All Get to Heaven

-loved and worshiped God
-read his Bible religiously
-loved his family more than anything on Earth
-loved his flowers
-always wore a long sleeve shirt
-sat at the end of the table
-ate gravy on his biscuit
-loved vegetables
-ate coke floats with me
-brought home random animals for his grandkids
-taught the Bible to anyone who would listen
-prayed before every meal
-gave of his time and money
-did not want anyone to boast over him
-loved to tell jokes at the table
-hid in closets to scare you when you walked by
-sat in his rocking chair frequently
-watched Westerns
-could dance around me doing math problems
-worked hard for his money
-loved his cats

I'm a few hours late writing this, but yesterday (August 20th) marked the one year anniversary of Papaw's death. I absolutely cannot believe it's been a year. In ways it's been so short, but in some ways it's been so long. A long year of seeing Mamaw sad and tearful for the love of her life for 52 years. Of hearing her talk of going to the cemetery 3 times a day to water the grass on his grave. A long year of hearing her say, "I wish I could take you home with me. I love you, darlin'" as she drives away from his tombstone. I miss him so much, but he's in a better place. She's the one left here. And the main person by her side was her sister, Aunt Barbara. In the last two weeks Aunt Barbara had her gallbladder removed, suffered a heart attack and a stroke, went through a heart cath, and a surgical procedure to remove a clot in the artery of her neck. Her 75 year old body was handling it as well as could be expected until the triple bypass surgery on Friday morning. Her little heart just couldn't take anymore. She passed away around 8:30 pm on Sunday evening. Mamaw was standing in the lobby of the ICU waiting room and the only word that came to my mind when I saw her face was "lost." Her best friend and her husband have both passed away within exactly one year of each other. Aunt Barbara was one of the most thoughtful people I've ever met. She came to every single performance, birthday party, graduation...anything Kacie, Andrew, Judd, or I took part in. She was always there--gift and card in hand to show her appreciation. She lived a rough life, yet maintained such a positive and caring attitude for other people. Her death was so unexpected and she leaves a large void in the hearts of so many.

The Broken Cord

We little knew that morning that God
Was going to call your name.
In life we loved you dearly,
In death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you,
You did not go alone;
For part of us went with you,
The day God called you home.
You left us peaceful memories,
Your love is still our guide;
And though we cannot see you,
You are always at our side.
Our family chain is broken,
And nothing seems the same;
But as God calls us, one by one,
The Chain will link again.

Author unknown

So yesterday we mourned the loss of Papaw and Aunt Barbara. We visited Papaw's grave and took flowers. When I'm there sometimes, I feel like such a stranger to that piece of land, but I know Mamaw knows it so well. She visits every. single. day. Sometimes two or three times. She talks to him, tells him new things happening in her life, and as she drives away she looks out the window and says, "Bye darlin'. I love you." Her heart breaks, and it breaks mine in return.

Not too long before Papaw died, I called him on the phone to tell him how much I loved him. He said, "You make my 74 year old heart very pleased and satisfied." I will never forget the way he said that. We love you so much, Papaw, and we miss you every single day--but we're working hard to please the Lord so we can celebrate with you in heaven one day. This Earth is not the end--it's the beginning of an eternity we will all spend together with no tears, no sadness, no dying or loss.

God saw that he was getting tired

And the cure was not to be,
So He put His arms around him
And whispered, "Come with Me."

With tearful eyes we watched him suffer
And saw him fade away.
Although we loved him dearly,
We could not make him stay.

A golden heart stopped beating,
Busy little hands to rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us,
He only takes the best.

Rhonda Braswell


Justin said...

Audra, I am so sorry to hear about your aunt. I know how close your family is. I got all teared up...Love you! -Hil

Lori said...

your post really got to me. i love how your list at the beginning was so detailed; really sweet and inspiring things. just being around him a few times in his home was showed me how special he was. it's neat to see your gma's dedication to him.

i'm sorry for your hurt about him and Aunt Barbara. i love you.

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