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A Tribute

My fathers parents, Mamaw and Papaw (to me), were really the only grandparents that I have ever had. My mothers mom lives in another state and is a whole other story. My Mamaw married my Papaw pretty young after he had been released from the military services after getting shot up pretty bad in the war. (dont ask me which war, I have no idea) He really couldnt work much after that so my Mamaw got a job in downtown Birmingham with a small law office as a paralegal. With Papaws government check they did just fine. She didnt know it at the time, but she would work there for the rest of here life.

My sister and I spent many a weekend at their home when we were kids. It was truly innocent bliss. We were oblivious to the day to day struggles that a woman such as our grandmother might have to make or the feelings and stress of doing pretty much everything in her home on her own. We just knew that she was kind and always so happy and willing to spend what little free time she might have on a weekend with us. I recall as if I am still there the three of us, my sister, Mamaw and myself all piling up in her bed to goto sleep. She would sing old lullabies, probabaly from her childhood, until we drifted away to a sound sleep. In the morning my sister and I would rise before her and promptly get the state map out and plan an adventure for the day. Desoto Caverns, Noccallula falls and many more places were traveled to and not once did she ever say no.

She took care of Papaw as he aged, worked full time, was the sole care taker of their home and she did it all. At the ripe age of 56 she bought a brand new Camero and drove it like she was 16 again. She lived her life, really lived it. She found out she had ovarian cancer and then she battled that for three years before it took her from all of this. That was the first person in my life to die. The first and one of the most influential and loved people I did or will ever have known.

When she died I accepted it, after some time, and chose to think of what all she had accomplished, what a good person she truly was and how she had to be somewhere better. But this also left Papaw by himself. The woman whom was his everything is now gone. Papaw lived in their home for the past four years alone. My dad now filling the shoes of his mother, while working his full time job and doing the endless list of tasks of his own. This has been the sad part to watch. A man all alone in a home full of memories. A man so touched by what happened to him many many years ago in a war far away from here, that he sleeps with knives under his pillow and checks the door locks repeatedly in a day because he isnt quite sure he is out of that jungle, they could still be coming for him.

Papaw suffered a string of mini-strokes a couple of weeks ago which landed him in the hospital. After many tests and poking and prodding they released him and told my dad that his father is now dying of old age and that he will need supervised care. My papaw now resides in my old bedroom at my parents house. Of course, if you look at that bedroom now it doesnt resemble mine. It has the complete set up hospital bed and all and every day he seems to slip farther away from us and reality.

All of this takes me back to seeing my Mamaw suffer and being there with her the moment she died. It is all so much to feel and see and soak in. It also has me thinking of what I will do if I ever have to take care of my parents, like my father has had to do. But then you have to tell yourself that this is all a part of life, the way it is. You cant change it so you must deal with it. Deal with it.

My Papaw turns 75 years old today, he has fought in wars to protect our freedom and country, he was married to my Mamaw for 50something years, he will not be with us much longer and I am proud to have had him in my life and my family. These two people, Mamaw and Papaw, will live forever with me, in my heart, in my mind and in my spirit.

Aww I am so sorry to hear that. You have made me cry. If you need someone to talk to I am here for you.

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