"I felt a nice, fresh breeze a moment ago. Where has it gone to?"
- Tennessee Williams, in 'The Glass Menagerie'

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Forever and a day, if it's possible.

I haven't slept well the past few nights, and I've decided that I'm attributing it to the fact that I haven't blogged yet about my past week.

(and I nod)

Last Wednesday, June 1, 2011
became a day that I will forever remember.

I stood at bedside with my mother,
                                    my aunt KK,
                                    my cousin Seth,
                                    my dad,
                                    my sister Joie,
                                    my aunt Stacy,
                                    my cousin Jamison,
                                    my uncle Robbie,
                                    my uncle Joey,
                                    and my grandmother ("Saint Betty")
as my grandfather, my Peppy, took his very last breath(s) in this world.
(and scared the living doodoo out of my cousin Seth while doing so, which, despite the sadness, was actually quite humorous - Peppy made sure he got one more good laugh out of us before going home to God, that's for sure)

I've written a lot about the horrible disease that took him away from us, but I have suddenly realized that I haven't written a lot about him as a person.  So, I figured I would give you a little insight into the real world of Peppy:

My aunt KK said it best in what she wrote for the funeral Celebration of Life that we had this past Sunday:
he was a KEEPER.

My Peppy was the most stubborn, grouchy, mean old man you could ever imagine...
...but he was also the most kind, loving, affectionate, and gentle man you could ever imagine.

We always knew when we had pushed the button just a little too far, and mostly we knew not to ever get near that button because as long as Peppy remained happy, everyone else remained happy.

He quit smoking on my cousin Kayla's first birthday... because he wanted to live a long life, to get to know his grandchildren... because he loved us... but the saddest part was that, even with that, he was still sick for the better part (if not all) of our lives.

When I was in kindergarten, he was squished between a train car and a cement pole at Pullman where he worked.  I remember him being in the hospital, and I remember him telling me about having his nurse wheel him across the crosswalk everyday - no matter how badly he was hurting that day - so that he could wave at the people driving by... (clearly, they probably didn't see him, but I guarantee you that at least one person did in the time that he was there, and that one person?  They probably smiled and had a better day because of my Peppy)

...because that's the kind of person that he was.

He was always looking for a smile, as with many of his sayings:

      "If at first you don't succeed... cheat."

                               "What you up to, Pep?... about 6 feet."

                  "In the days of old, when the women weren't so bold..."
                  (sorry, I can't finish that one - I fear I'd get in trouble, but it's quite funny)

...and he LOVED softball.  He loved to tell stories of him playing back in the day, and he would tell them over and over and over... and every. single. time... it put a huge smile on his face.  It made him happy.

My Peppy was an amazing, amazing man,
grouchy and all.

We used to joke about him being just like Grumpy from 'Snow White' (big nose and all)...
...and just like Grumpy did with Snow White, he always wound up showing you how he loved you, even if it was simply with a hug.

The last time I got to talk to my Peppy was the Monday before he died.
I went over there to hang out with my Booper and cook some mac-n-cheese... and wound up helping her get him into bed.  That was the last time that he was out of bed before he died.


For some reason, as we hoisted him into bed and got him all tucked in, something told me that I needed to do something... so I followed my gut:

I got his attention,
got him to look me directly in the eye,
and said to him:
"Pep, I love you more than you will ever know."

All he said back was
"Thank you"
but in my heart... I knew that that "thank you" meant "I love you" and that it meant that he didn't quite remember what his response was really supposed to be... so "thank you" sufficed, and you know why?
...because he eyes said, "I love you, PeeWee, forever."

So, I sighed, kissed him on the head, tucked him in, and continued on my mac-n-cheese journey...

...but I can say, without a doubt, that my Peppy knew that I loved him - and that he loved me.

And there's no better feeling in the world.

He's in a better place now, and he's watching over all of us...
...and if there's one more thing I could ever say to him, it would be this:

Thank you, too, Pep.

Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for making me smile.
Thank you for being you.
Thank you for showing me how to love and be loved.
and thank you, more than anything, for showing me the meaning of family.

I will miss you forever.
Forever and a day, if it's possible.

Rest in peace, old man.  :)
I love you.