Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Our Last Week Together...

PaPa had once told Jane Jane that he wanted his last days to be spent with Haley and Harrison. How could we have known that this beautiful week in May would be our last week with him? PaPa and Jane Jane, what my kids affectionately call their grandparents or my in-laws, came to spend the first week of summer break and celebrate Haley's ninth birthday with us. They rolled into town from Ohio, a car full of fun gifts for the kids and Jane Jane's famous canned pickles and apple sauce, just as the kids were finishing their last day of school. They loved watching Harrison play and interact with his school friends on the beautiful tree-covered playground of our wonderful school. PaPa had been especially pleased with our decision to put the children in this private Christian school this year. He told Matt something that I would never forget when we were weighing the cost of the school, he said something along the lines of "it's okay to sacrifice for your kids". This was his chance to see the school in person and the wonderful historic building and setting didn't disappoint. 

We loaded up the car with backpacks for the last time this school year and headed to our favorite thai restaurant to begin our time together. This began a lovely week of beautiful weather filled with eating at great restaurants, lots of porch sitting, celebrating a not-so-little girl's birthday, playing at parks, a trip to Ft. Worth to visit friends and enjoy their garden, watching Harrison play tee-ball and Matt coach, taking a tour of Dallas, shopping, and visiting a local nursery. We really couldn't have asked for better weather or a more relaxing time.

PaPa let Haley paint his head with face paints!
The last night of their visit we watched Harrison play tee ball and both sets of grandparents were in attendance, I snapped a quick picture saying it's not often that we have all of the grandparents together. We went to the Dairy Queen enjoyed some ice cream and a few good laughs.

We spent the rest of the evening relaxing at our house, I noticed how Haley snuggled right up to PaPa on the couch and thought to myself how comfortable and loved she must feel with him. That is one thing no one could question, he had a great love for his grandchildren and Matt being an only child meant that Haley and Harrison had his complete love and attention.

The next morning Jane Jane, PaPa, Matt and the kids went to the new coffee shop in town and enjoyed some sweets and then said their tearful goodbyes while I attended a "Trim Healthy Mama" meeting. I would miss Matt and my Mom's calls just two hours later as I sat with my phone on silence and blissfully unaware of the trouble that lay ahead. It would be a heart attack just two hours down the road that would take him away so quickly, a shock so hard to comprehend. Haley when told that PaPa had a heart attack and needed to get in the car quickly had the foresight to grab her Bible. Through her tears she found a page that led her to verses when you feel sad. Psalm 34:18 provided all of us with comfort through the next difficult days.

This was only a little over two weeks ago so this is all still very raw, perhaps too raw for a blogpost. But, I want to remember, my kids to remember the gift of our last week together. We know that PaPa is with our Lord. Harrison figures he might be having interesting conversations with Abraham Lincoln. The kids, my mom and I made a random exit the day after Harrison made this comment at dinner on our drive to Ohio and found ourselves at Abraham Lincoln's birthplace. It was a beautiful setting that our road weary, sad bodies needed. 

Of course, it was a sad week in Ohio, but it was not without its sweet times. Like spending time with cousins who live in Maine and we hadn't seen in three years.

My sweet husband has handled everything with such courage, strength, and grace, I am beyond blessed to be his wife.

I'm also so proud of the courage and grace Jane Jane has shown in having to say goodbye to the love of her life. And, I certainly couldn't have made it through the last two weeks without my Mom's support in making the trip to Ohio with the kids and me. 

We're thankful that the end of this life really only begins your real life, but it's still tough even with that hope. We are so thankful for the many people who have prayed for us and reached out to us over the last two weeks. God has blessed us with some truly great friends and your prayers have been felt.

PaPa you will be missed...


  1. Your kids will be greatful for this post one day. I am very sorry for your loss and pray for continued healing.

  2. Jennifer that was beautiful. I have been trying to figure out what to write in their journals about this. I had just gotten caught up and told about her birthday and it being the best birthday ever. I haven't had the words to do it - you did. I think it is just now hitting everyone. Just remember the old hymn, God will take care of you. HE will take care of you. Love to you, Matt, Haley Ruth, Harrison and Jane Jane. Love,Mom

  3. What a wonderful read. Thanks for posting Jennifer.
    Friend of Tim and Jane's,
    Sherry Wilkins
    Bellefontaine, Ohio

  4. Jennifer,what a beautiful tribute to what sounds like a very special man! We are so sorry for your loss. Please give Harrison and Hailey a hug from me. We'll be praying for you! Julie Diaz de Leon

  5. Jennifer, Matt, Haley and Harrison, I'm so sorry for your loss. How blessed you were to have such a special time together, and I think it's wonderful that you took the time and effort to put it down in words and pictures. It's clear he loved his family very much. I will be praying for you all as you work through this time of loss and grief.

  6. Jennifer thank you for sharing what is sure to be one of the most emotional posts that anyone could ever write. The four of you along with Jane are in my thoughts and prayers daily and having a one granddaughter myself with another on the way I have told my wife I am making it a point to spend as much time with them as I possibly can with them located at Ft Bragg its difficult to do sometimes but as life does get busy I need to always remember God and family are the most important things in life. Again thank you and may god Bless you, Tim, Haley, Harrison and Jane.


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