We Are {Family}

Well look what we have here…another post! First it took six weeks, this time it only took me five and a half… I’d say that’s cause for celebration #glasshalffull #definitelybeingsarcastic.

Today we’re talking about another one of my favorite things: Family. Over the last year, the biggest change in this area of my life has been the loss of my paternal grandfather.

GrandparentsAtGraduation

Taken at our College graduation after party.

On May 26, 2015, my “Grandada” went to be with Jesus.

Even though I knew his health had been declining, I don’t think there is anything that could’ve prepared me for such a loss. I’ve learned the easiest way to get through it is to focus on the positives. Like the fact that he is in heaven, sitting at the throne of our King. No longer in pain. No longer suffering.Or that we knew this was coming.

I am so thankful for the times we spent together… especially as it neared the end; moments that we may not have gotten had it happened suddenly. One of the things I’m most thankful for is that Josh got to meet my grandpa before he died.

If your family is anything like mine, then they probably like to ask a lot about your love life… you know, questions like “so… is there anyone special in your life?” or “when do you plan to get married?” or the dreaded one… “you know, when I was your age, I was married with 2 children already.” Thankfully, my grandpa wasn’t TOO bad, but every time we talked on the phone, he always would mention how he was praying for me and for this area of my life.

fam

Anyway, this past May, my family had planned a trip to Nashville for Memorial Day weekend. A few days before we were supposed to leave, my grandma called my dad and told him that he needed to get down to Florida asap.

Translation: the end is near.

With everything going on, we almost decided to cancel the trip but ultimately decided to go in hopes that being around our family friends would help cheer us up. So that Thursday, Kelly, Josh and I rented a car and drove from VA to NC to meet up with my mom and brother so that we could all do the long drive together.

(Random side note: this also happened to be the same time Josh would be meeting my mom and brother for the first time. Who else’s boyfriend signs up for an 8-10 hour car drive with a crazy family that he’s never met? Can you say “keeper”?).

When we were about 20 minutes out from Nashville, my dad texted us telling us that Grandada was having a good day and that if we wanted to talk to him one last time, we should call as soon as we were able. So as soon as we pulled up to our friends house, still packed in the car, we FaceTimed my grandpa.

I have never been more thankful for technology.

About ten minutes into our FaceTime, I panned the camera over to Josh to officially introduce the two of them.  At first my grandpa was super polite. He said hi and how grateful he was to get to officially meet him. He then looked at him seriously and said “Now that you’re dating her, you need to forget all the other girls. Don’t play any games. If you love her, marry her.” (Keep in mind we had only been dating for about two whole months at this point… I told you, Josh is a saint). But that’s the guy my grandpa was. Very sweet, at times he would come off as shy… but he was always going to tell you the truth, wrapped in love.

As I sat there, slightly embarrassed, I also felt so at peace with everything. I felt really blessed that he got the opportunity to meet someone who I think will be in my life for a long time. Potentially, the man that he’d been praying for.

That was my last conversation with my grandpa.

Later that night, after consulting with all of his doctors, our family decided to grant my grandpa’s wishes and take him to hospice. For those of you who’ve never dealt with hospice, it is essentially where you go when you know the end is near. At this point, they stop giving you medicine to keep you alive, and focus more  on giving you medicine to ease your pain and make the “transition” easier.

As my grandpa’s pain grew stronger and he became  too weak to talk, my dad and his siblings reach out to all of their kids (his grandkids) to let us write letters, send videos, etc. for them to play for him during his last few days. Our family friend ended up putting them in a video format, which was played at his funeral. I’ve decided to share this video with you all because I think it gives you great insight into just how special he was. Although the video makes me cry, it is the best reminder of the type of man he was, the memories he helped create and the legacy that he’s left. (You may have to be on a computer to view it).

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