Early this morning, after a fairly long and difficult struggle with Alzheimer's and lung cancer, my darling Papa Chicken Wing went to be with the Lord in Heaven. While my heart is aching, my mind is cursing the month of June, and my eyes are crying, my soul is rejoicing because Papa's suffering is finally over.
It is going to take some time to figure out how our family works without him, and that is painful, but I am so happy for him in that he is in the best place of all! He spent his whole life giving to others and helping others. He worked at the local funeral home for more than 25 years - he worked there for my whole life so far! Every day, he helped people in their darkest hours as they laid to rest those that they loved so much. He has been a quiet and gentle beacon of our small community for a long time - I loved seeing him run into people because they would always light up when they saw him.
It's ironic that his colleagues will now have to assist us in his final departure, but it was bound to happen. You know what they say about life - nobody makes it out alive. I have no regrets, as I was able to spend quite a while last night with him. I was there helping Grandma out from about 6:30pm - 12:30am, and it felt a little like he waited for me. Maybe that's not true, but it's what will help me through this. While I wasn't there as he actually passed on, Momma Chicken Wing said that he went very peacefully, and while we are heartbroken that he is no longer with us, we are just so happy that he doesn't have to labor anymore.It had gotten quite difficult for him, and it was hard to adjust to seeing him in such a fragile state. Don't get me wrong - Papa was never a large man; quite the opposite, actually. But recently, he became frail. It was hard to see him get so frustrated because he just couldn't do the things he was used to doing. I think the most important thing is that he knows he was loved, loved, loved. All he wanted was to be at home and to have his pain managed, and I think we accomplished both of those things. It was such a gift to us to be able to grant him his last wishes. I hope his journey to eternal life was an easy one, and that he felt as peaceful as he seemed to be.
This is a part of life that I haven't had to do yet. I've been so blessed to be able to have all four of my grandparents for all my life. I did things a little backwards, as I've gone through losing my daddy, which was one of the hardest things in the world and one of the defining factors in who I am today. Papa was one of the ones who were left to help take care of us after that, and I am grateful for all he did for me.
He was kind, gentle, and easy-going. Growing up, my little legs could always keep up with him because he took slow strides. I will never forget the ONE time he raised his voice at my siblings and me - we were being bad, and Grandma had repeatedly fussed at us, and then all of a sudden Papa said in his "meanest, most serious" voice, "Y'all better stop it or I'm going to get involved!" Seriously, that's as "mean" as he ever got. And you know what? All three of us cried because we had upset him. Grandma would pick at him, because that's the relationship they had for more than 50 years. He would never raise his voice back, but he would wait until she went down the hallway and then make a face or a smart remark behind her back. It would always make us laugh. That's just the way he was, and I will always remember and love him for that.
So please pray for us, and for him, and lift us up in this time of need. Your support will be felt, I promise, and it will be oh so appreciated. The power of prayer is so strong, and so far-reaching. Thank you for everything - you guys are the best!
"For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity." - William Penn
Until next time
Miss Chicken Wing