Each time we head home, we try to make it a point to visit all of them. I don't ever want to skip an opportunity and then not be able to get it back.
We are in Victoria and we started our visit off with lunch with my parents, after lunch they took the kids to run a couple errands and Daron and I had a couple of hours on our own. On our way out to my parent's we stopped off at my Nannie and Papa's. Papa was in the back resting, but we had a nice talk with Nannie. We covered many topics as we always do, we always have great conversation with Nannie and enjoy our time very much. I asked about Papa's health which always seems to be a gamble :) sometimes good, sometimes not so good. He has had several battles he has overcome. He currently has a Pacemaker and defibrillator to help him keep going. He has been a little dizzy and weak lately. She took him to the doctor and they said that his arteries just can't pump hard enough and there's nothing else they can do. When she told me this I kind of sat silently for a moment to process...then said, "hold on, are you saying, when it stops beating, it's done?" She looked at me with a long face and said, yeah, pretty much...
It was at that moment I thought to myself...we just don't know...
Papa Brannan has lived such a success story. He worked hard building his Company (Brannan Paving) ground up retiring successfully at 40, traveling the World...he held the World in his hands. He took my siblings and me to many places in the RV, ohhhh...the memories of the RV HAHA!! Those would comprise of many blogs :) He has overcome multiple strokes, heart surgeries, and life tragedies no one should have to endure. Papa is just a compassionate, gentle, loving man, that I am forever grateful to have had so many years with!
*I'd like to take this paragraph to honor my Nannie. She has endured all the pain my grandfather has and in some ways more. She has been such a faithful and loving wife and care-taker. She has always been the spunk and the life. I swear she can still out run me if we go to the mall. When she comes to town it's full of fun, good company, laughter, and of course good food! ~I love her!
Then Sunday, we all went to see Papa and Nini (Daron's-Moulton's side). Papa had not been doing well at all around Christmas time. He was suffering real badly from dementia and rapidly losing weight. He did not recall Daron nor myself a few months ago, so needless to say, I was not real excited to go, since this is quiet depressing. Much to our surprise, when we pulled up he was outside with Uncle Doug looking at the lawn mower. We got out of the car and he greeted us with a smile and knew who we were. I asked him if he remembered Faith, he said, "YES, I remember Faith!" It was such a strange moment, but we were so happy to see he knew us. He had also looked like he had put on a 'little' weight.
We went up to the house and sat at the kitchen table eating Aunt Margies delicious, homemade pineapple/lemon cake while Nini filled us in on the latest. She said Papa was on two new medications that was helping his memory, they have a nurse coming in to help bathe him and help her out...Daron asked Nini how he was handling the help...her response cracked us up, she said, "I sat him down and said, look here, you're going to be nice or I'm going to put you in a home...I can't do this anymore." She then proceeded to say, "Well, I didn't tell him the last part, but I sure was thinking it..."
Papa Moulton has lived such a strong and hard-working life. He built the 3-level, including basement home they live in now back in the 70's and worked at CP&L for many years.
*Nini has endured all the pain and change Papa has too, but she is stood by his side loving him along the unknown way.
You, know the more I watch our grandparent's age with declining health, (my neighbors as well) I realize the love, patience, and compassion they have for another. It's truly miraculous to see what they put up with and the resistance they have...
Well, we had a nice visit with Papa and Nini. I then called my Meme and asked if we could come by. She informed me Poppy was not doing well and he would probably rather not have any visitors. I did not take to this response well. Daron and I talked and decided once we got to his parent's house I would call again and ask to go alone (his parents live 2 houses down from my grandparents).
So, I called Meme and she said she would love to see me. I walked down to their house and sat in the kitchen, talking to Meme while she prepared Poppy's dinner. She informed me that before he came down with Bronchitis a few weeks prior he had 28% oxygen. Poppy did his exercises as he was told so that he wouldn't lose capacity, but since he had been down with Bronchitis he had very little energy and had been unable to go to therapy. This is a little disheartening to him because whatever capacity he loses, he will not be able to regain. In the past three weeks he has lost 2%, he's now down to 26%.
Shortly, he came in looking like he had lost some weight and hooked up to his oxygen tank. He sat down, trying to catch his breath to have a conversation with me...It was just really sad to me to see his health. You know, my Poppy has ALWAYS been in good health, out in the fields working, traveling to the hill country, just a REALLY hard worker and to see him having a hard time walking from one room to the next was devastating. However, I must say, declining health or not...he's still a little onry :)
I was so glad I was able to go over there and hug his neck. Meme walked back to the Boepple's to see Faith and Will and after her visit Faith begged me to let her walk Meme home on her own. I stood on the driveway and watched them walk hand-in-hand with Faith's blonde hair blowing in the wind. Tears welled up as I thought what a privilege it is for her to know almost ALL of her Great-Grandparent's up to unto the age of at least 6! How cool! Once she got Meme home and walked in to hug Poppy herself and came running straight back over the neighbors lawn. Look back at Meme, waving, "I love you!" Precious moments that just melt my heart!
*Meme is one of a kind and always has been. She has a heart of gold! She has put up with TONS of BS and for what I have known of her, grinned through it. She is the depiction of patience! Strong and tender, a "child-whisperer," and a talented florist.
As we drove down Nursery to meet Stevie (Daron's brother) for dinner, tears welled up in my eyes as I looked at Daron and said, "The heart is going to take Papa, and the lungs are going to take Poppy." In a gentle way, he said, "Honey, a part of our body will break down at some-point..." He reassured me he wasn't being insensitive, and I knew he wasn't.
When I look at my grandparents I think of the well-known 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
"To have and to hold,
From this day forward,
For better, for worse,
For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
To love and to cherish,
'Til death do us part."
The good Lord knows each of our grandparents have endured each of these. Life has not always been "better," "richer," or "health," but they have loved each other through it all. What a beautiful picture of commitment! I am so proud and blessed with grandparents that never gave up!
So, when I think about getting older, it's NOT the fear of death that bothers me...I'm not afraid...it's just that, like I told Daron, when I've had 27 years with some amazing people, 27 years with amazing memories, it's just that I'm not ready to end those on Earth. I am fully aware it is inevitable and I am working on preparing my mind and emotions for it, but man it sure is hard.
I want to leave you with the thought of age...27 or 87, we don't know when it will end. We are not promised tomorrow so live like today's your last! Love like it's your last! Care like it's your last! Make that phone call, go hug their neck, apologize, forgive...life is SHORT! (I’m speaking to myself!)
I LOVE Tim McGraws, "Live like you were dying:"
"And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying.
An' he said: "Some day, I hope you get the chance,
To live like you were dyin'."
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.
Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
But the love of the Lord remains forever
with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children
of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments!