February 4, 2013

Bye Paw Paw

On Friday morning I got the phone call I have long been dreading.  As I was getting the boys ready for school/the day's activities, Josh called and simply said "Paw Paw is gone."
 Paw Paw's deterioration had been slow and steady.  Tests could never find a cause, so they termed it dementia.  But Josh's grandfather, the man I had come to know and love over our nine years ago, had been going for awhile now, and particularly over the past few months.  In the end his passing was a mixed bag...we are thankful he is no longer suffering, but sad to have lost such a wonderful man.
And PawPaw was truly a wonderful man.  I know you're not supposed to admit to having favorites in a family, but PawPaw was always my favorite of Josh's family members.  Every time we saw him, he would greet me with a hug and a "hey gal."  He was a warm, patient, true family man that constantly put other people ahead of himself.
 Josh's parents were divorced for his entire childhood (they remarried when he was 20 or so), and as a result, Josh spent many days and nights with his grandparents (even though his father was the one who was estranged, and they are his parents).  Josh even lived with his grandparents for a bit when he had nowhere else to go.  I am grateful Josh had such a positive influence in his life.  I firmly believe without PawPaw (and Mamaw), my husband would not be the man he is today.  I feel lucky to have married a man that takes after his PawPaw in so many ways.
josh and PawPaw at Colton's 1st birthday
While his selflessness was a huge part of who he was, PawPaw also had a spunk in him that could not be denied.  He had a quick wit and was always cracking some kind of joke.    For years, he seemed much younger than his age.  Just a couple years ago, shortly after we moved into this house, Chipper managed to catch a baby rabbit in our yard while Josh's grandparents were over for a visit.  As Chipper pranced around the yard with baby rabbit in his mouth (yes, it was horrifying!), Josh attempted several times to get him to "drop it."  Obviously, our well-behaved pup was not listening, so PawPaw went out back and attempted to pitch in.  I went out after awhile to check on their progress and PawPaw was nowhere to be seen.  Turns out he was out in his car looking for a rope, thinking if he could find one he could "lasso" Chipper.  That memory has made Josh and I smile several times over the last few days!
With PawPaw's passing, he left behind Josh's grandmother,  his wife of 62 years. 62 years!  For the past month, she has played the role of PawPaw's caregiver and stood by his side nearly every minute of every day.  She has been incredibly strong, but in one of her few breakdowns I have witnessed, she commented to us that over the 62 years, they had had so much fun.  That really resonated with me.  You marry your best friend, and even though life and all its responsibilities, challenges, and stressors get in the way, shouldn't we all be so lucky to still look at that partner 62 years later and say we've had fun?
 In PawPaw's memory, I know that's what Josh and I will be striving for moving forward.  We love you PawPaw.  You will most certainly be missed.  

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