Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Today is the 5th anniversary of the day my Grandpa died, Nov. 26, 2003, and I have been thinking about him a lot lately and miss him terribly. I remember that day like yesterday. I remember talking to Grandpa as they were leaving Missouri to come here for Thanksgiving. I remember the last thing I ever said to him was, "I love you drive safely!" and he said, "I love you too baby girl! Can't wait to see you!"

A little while later I also took the call with my Grandma frantically on the other end, crying while repeating "Grandpa is gone! Grandpa is gone! Oh sweet baby girl we need help! Grandpa is gone!"

Confused I kept saying, "Well where could he possibly have gone I thought you two were on your way here! What do you mean he is gone? Are you OK?"

"He's gone baby girl! He's gone Angie!" was all she could say while crying hysterically.

"Grandma you aren't making much sense. Did he not tell you where he was going? I'll just call his cell phone, he'll answer!" I don't know if I was just that clueless or just couldn't accept the fact that deep down I knew what she meant.

"He's dead baby girl! I NEED HELP!" At this point I lost it and a lot of the next hour is pretty much a blur. I remember calling my Dad to the office phone immediately, crying and praying she was wrong. I barely remember the calls I made or helping to make arrangements so my Grandma could get picked up somewhere in Vinita. My Grandma had noticed Papa acting a little strange then he made a noise and the car veered into oncoming traffic. Grandma was able to climb over, steer the car off the road and get to the brakes before the car crashed into other holiday travelers. He died while driving which is when he was the happiest. I miss him so! I was very close to my Grandparents well I am still close to my Grandmother! I had a good childhood but I was sort of "left behind" and a very small shadow to my sister's existence once our brothers were gone. My Grandparents took over spoiling me where my parents left off and I was the baby girl they never had or so they would always tell me since they had FIVE boys. Our love went BOTH ways!! I cherished them for showing me unconditional love, for telling me I was beautiful when I felt so ugly next to my sister and for telling me I wasn't fat and giving me some more homemade cake. I still laugh when I think about my summer vacations to their house. I remember picking blackberries by the old railroad tracks and being pampered because the chiggers ate me alive and left my feet so swollen that I couldn't even wear shoes. We would play board games, card games, do crossword puzzles and watch Wheel of Fortune then crawl into bed with them in the wee hours of the morning. I would help out with the animals and ride around with Grandpa on his golf cart just waiting for my next chance to drive!! I called them just to talk and let them know I would never forget. I remember the day I had Elijah they made a special trip that morning so they could be here for his birth. That meant more to me than they will ever know. I remember them trying to convince us to have an impromptu wedding the weekend my sister and cousin got married and my Grandpa offering to pay for it all if we did, but alas we wanted our OWN moment. I will never forget the moments Elijah shared with him. Apparently my Grandpa had a little racism left in him from his era BUT I NEVER KNEW THIS ABOUT HIM UNTIL AFTER HE DIED when my Grandma told me how much he loved Elijah and he said, "Elijah James (named after my Grandpa) is a very special little boy. HE taught me what TRUE unconditional love really means! He is indeed a very special little boy!" My Grandpa had used a cane since I was little and Elijah like many other kids was scared to death of it. In fact he was so scared that we could use it as a baby gate!! We would put the cane down in a doorway we didn't want him to pass and he would NOT go over that cane! My Grandpa thought it was funny but at the same time he felt bad so he made Elijah his very own cane. He took one of his canes, shortened it and they were buddies. Elijah used that cane forever and even now if him or Isaiah get hurt they pull out the cane to help them walk. Incidentally Moose tried to eat the cane and my sentimental self wanted to beat him with it, but of course, his stupid, stubborn, always chewing something self did not have a clue and looked at me as if to say, "What did I do?" The last pictures taken of Grandpa are from our wedding. I am so happy he was alive for my wedding but sad each time I look at the pictures and remember that was the last time I ever saw him. I have probably never looked better than I did that day and that was the last day I saw him! It is weird to me that only 5 years later on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving just 2 days before my birthday that the Nov. 26th again lands on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I will never forget that day. I will never forget that we left the day before the funeral, later than everyone because we had to wait on their van to be fixed to drive it back to Missouri. Yes that is right I had to ride in the car that my Grandpa had died in days before and I was an emotional wreck the entire drive. I will never forget the feeling as I opened the side door to put my bags in the van and there sat his cane collection never to be needed again! I know you all have heard the song "I Can Only Imagine" and I cannot listen to that without crying because I just imagine Grandpa dancing around WITHOUT HIS CANE and forever being free of the "weak" stigma HE thought the cane brought. It is hard for me to talk about him without getting upset and others aren't necessarily like that about him b/c he wasn't the best at showing emotions and letting people he loved know how much he loved. I say to each his own ~ I loved him and I let him know just like he did for me and I will always cherish our relationship!! Sadly I have no digital pics of Grandpa and the scanner is screwed up so I decided to I will share a few of scrapbook pages I have of him later this evening. I think the thing that speaks so much of him is that Elijah remembers him. Elijah was only 22months old when his Great Grandpa James Bryan or as Elijah said "Papa Cane" went to Heaven but he KNEW him, he LOVED him and still talks about him or asks me to tell him stories from "Papa Cane's" younger days and I am always HAPPY to oblige. Elijah was glad that Papa was already in Heaven so Daisy would have someone to love, cuddle and play with her. We miss you Grandpa and we will NEVER forget!! Love your baby girl!

1 comment:

  1. OK- I tired to post this comment of mine a few days ago- but then the world wibe web did something strange. ANYHOW- THANKS for making me cry! I just bawled through your letter to your grandpa. LOVED IT!


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