This has been such a bitter sweet couple of days for me and my family. On Wednesday I shared with my Dad, Grandparents, and the rest of our extended family and friends that I was expecting. The amount of congratulations we got from everyone was completely overwhelming, and made the whole pregnancy so much more real and exciting. Throw in the fact that I'm 12 weeks today, and that Will and I both had great weeks at work, and you've got a happy Brittany.
Unfortunately, when I called my Grandma on Wednesday, she let me know my Grandpa wasn't doing well. He's suffered from Parkinson's Disease for many, many years, and it has been a rough road lately. Rough for my Grandfather experiencing the disease, and rough for my Grandmother to take care of him and watch him suffer and deteriorate. I cannot imagine the pain she's experienced watching her husband of 56 years lose everything that made him him.
I'd planned to drive the hour north after work yesterday to hopefully get in one last visit with my Papaw. Before I could leave for the day, my Dad let me know that he'd passed.
I debated about whether or not to share this news here, but it seemed like the right thing to do. my Grandpa was an amazing man. He was all of the best things a man can be really. A devoted, caring husband, father, and grandfather. A provider. A strong Christian and an active member of his church. An educator (High School History). A veteran. A semi professional athlete. A Master's degree earner. A coach. A person who sent me emails every week of my freshman year of college with an inspirational quote. The most frequent will stay with my forever:
"Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better, and you're better is best."
This quote encompasses so so much about my Grandparents and their attitude. They are extremely loving and supportive, and would always let us know they were proud. But they would remind you that there is always room for improvement.
Thats me in the amazing red hat. My cousins and I with our Papaw.
About 10 years ago we had a huge birthday party for my him. So many people came and shared stories about how he'd changed their life. About how him encouraging them to be a better student, or athlete changed their view on the world. About how he'd provide his or my Dad's suits for people to borrow or have to attend job interviews. It was a remarkable day and I am gad he got to hear how many people loved him. Many tears were shed by all members of my family. Even though I was just a teenager then, I knew it was moving.
All of this happening as I announce my pregnancy and enter the "safe" zone is so surreal. I know my Grandpa is looking down on me and my little family, and that he and my Omi (my maternal Grandma who I lost 11 years ago) will keep us safe over the next 7 months, and for the rest of our lives. Life and timing has always astounded me, and this is no exception. My family is now convinced I am having a boy, and that I'll bring back into the family the great man that we are losing in my grandpa.
Papaw was so proud of me and Will and I am glad they had the chance to get to know each other, even if it was at the end of his life when he'd seen much better days. Everyone loves and knows my Grandpa around their town, and his effect on Will was just as happy and positive.
My grandma was able to share the news of our baby with him the day before he passed, and I hope he was able to comprehend the news and have one final moment of celebration before he took his last breath.
We will miss you Papaw. Praying my family, and especially my Grandma, finds the strength to deal with this the best we can.