What I Was Thankful For

As Thanksgiving weekend comes to an end, and the start of the Christmas season is now beginning, I thought I would take some time to reflect on my weekend.

I generally hate family functions. I've told you in previous posts about the aunts. They stress me out. When they're together, someone usually ends up in tears. (This year was no exception.) But while there was a lull in the chaos, something hit me and I took a moment to reflect on it...

My granddaddy (my mom's dad) is one of the most wonderful men I have ever had the priviledge of knowing. Since losing 60 lbs, every time he sees me, he tells me how good I look. When some in my family start to try to make me feel bad for still being single, he says, "April's the smartest one of all of you, if you ask me." Then he'll wink at me. One of my favorite things to do is to sit and watch science fictions shows and movies with him. And if you walk into my house, you'll see that a lot of my furniture doesn't match. I have a lot of wooden furniture mixed with the more contemporary things that tends to reflect my style. Most of the wooden furniture in my house was handmade by him. I can remember watching each piece being made. I can remember bringing each piece home. Each piece of that I have is a work of art. Made from love by a man who loves his family so much. I will treasure each piece forever.

Granddaddy is in the end stages of emphysema. He's been on oxygen for at least ten years now. (It's actually more than that, but I can't remember exactly what year he went on oxygen.) The color in his cheeks has been gone for a few years now. He can't walk ten feet without getting out of breath. A few days before Thanksgiving he came down with bronchitis. Each time he has to fight bronchitis, it weakens his lungs even more. At one point on Thursday my granny said to the aunts, my mom, and I, "He's never going to get better." We all know this, yet every time we hear it, it breaks our hearts just a little bit more.

At one point, we were all in the den. My granny was in her chair, my mom and the older aunt were on the couch, and I was in my granddaddy's Hoveround. (Hey, don't judge. That thing is a freaking blast to play with, and Granddaddy gets a kick out of us playing with it.) I looked over and my grandfather was lying back in his recliner asleep.

I wish I could say that he looked so peaceful, but he didn't. Even in his sleep he was struggling to breathe.

For a few minute, while sitting in his Hoveround, I checked out of the conversation that was going on between my grandmother, mom, and aunt, and watched my grandfather sleep. In those few minutes, I remembered what it was like to watch him make those pieces of furniture. I thought he was such a strong man then, but I realize now how strong he really is. Each day is a battle for him, and we all know that he is fighting a losing battle. Yet each day, he fights. Each day, he's thankful he is still here.

So, this Thanksgiving I was thankful for my granddaddy. Thankful he still fights. Thankful that he is still here.

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~Mendie~ said...

My grandfather was the only father I ever knew...so I can only imagine how hard it is to watch him fight the battle.

I am glad that it you got to spend the day with him and it warms my heart to know how much you appreciate him!


Midwest Mommy said...

This is the same for us with my grandpa. I took pictures of him like crazy on Thursday because although he is still fighting the stroke he had two years ago took away so much. It breaks my heart but I am so thankful he still has the fight in him.

Anonymous said...

I had these same thoughts with my Grandfather last Thanksgiving. I may not have wanted to be there with THOSE people I am stuck being related to... but I would never trade one moment I got to spend with him - EVER.

Brooke said...

now you've gone and made me cry. old people break my heart. what a fighter he is!!

(jay's pawpaw is on the downward spiral right now - its so hard to watch)

Tiffany said...

Okay, you made me cry, darn you! I didn't get to go see my family this year for Thanksgiving, and I'm sad. My grandfather got really sick and was in the hospital right before the holiday, and I know he won't be around too many more years. It's heartbreaking.

Bacardi Mama said...

Your love for your grandaddy is so beautiful. You are very lucky to still have him with you. My grandpa has been gone for almost 40years now. I miss him and this post brought tears to my eyes.

Heather of the EO said...

I've lost both of my grandpas and it was so hard to watch them deteriorate. From the strong men I once knew to someone fighting for every day. It's so hard, but it's inspiring too, that kind of strength.

Beautiful post, April.

Heather D said...

Oh, April - big hug. I wish your granddaddy comfort and peace.

Mommy Mo said...

He sounds like a wonderful man, April. And a wonderful grandpa.

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