Friday, December 30, 2011

The oldest man I knew...

My grandfather (grampa) Paul C Kanagy lived to be 88 years old!  I don't know anyone else that old wise ;) I'm sure I do, but I couldn't list 1 off the top of my head.  Grampa K was the first of his/our immediate family to pass.  He and Gramma (Louella, Brynnen's name sake) have been married for over 62 years!!  They have 106 descendents? family members? people between them: 9 children, 7 spouses, 34 grandkids, 19 grand-spouses and 35 great-grandkids!!  Not to mention the engagements & babies on the way!! Out of those, not one single death in 62 years, that alone is amazing!  To say God has blessed our family is an understatement.

Not only did Grampa have 105 other people in his family, he could remember each and every person's name.  I was told that during his hospital stay, each time someone came in he would grin and call them by name- and then ask, (by name) where their spouse and/or kids were.  A solid mind after all those kids years, haha.  Again, blessing is an understatement.

We didn't get a chance to speak to grampa before he met Jesus, but I think he knew we were there.  Stephen, Brynnen and I got to Riverside Hospital (in Ohio) about 10pm on Monday December 19th.  My dad had told me several times that day Grampa was tired, he couldn't get rest (Oh, how I know hospitals are NOT restful!), so I was very thankful they had given him a shot to help him sleep through all the commotion.  He had been sleeping for about 5 1/2 hours when we arrived.  I didn't waste any time hugging Gramma and taking a seat on the other side of the bed.  I tousled his hair,(just like every other time, only this time he couldn't swat my hand- "Ha" I told him "one up for me!"  He was such a playful guy, you couldn't help but having fun when he was around).  I sat down, took Grampa's hand, and just gazed at him- choking back tears.  I had never seen my grampa anything but on the go, between barn chores, a garden and general house maintenance, he was always tinkering with something.  Shoot, just this summer I had to get on him for painting his deck in the 90+ heat!  Stubborn, that's a good word for him.  :)

I didn't want to talk very loud, I knew he needed rest- we'd been there about 10 minutes when Gramma said "I think he's trying to wake up!"  I was sitting there holding his hand, talking to Amie and Aunt Bonnie- when I looked over, Grampa was now turned toward me-  eye's partially opened- but not looking at me, I could only see the whites (yes it was a little weird). What?  Oh no!  I said "Grampa, stop- we'll be here tomorrow, you need rest!"  I have felt the terrible affects of taking a sleeping pill only to be woken up 30 minutes later, and this was WAY stronger stuff!  

The next morning I baked some cinnamon rolls we picked up the night before, filled a thermos with some fresh, semi-strong coffee (G&G don't make strong coffee, but the rest of us do, perfect compromise), I was pretty excited to get over there & surprise everyone with these goodies- and see the sweetest man I knew. 

On the way I got a message from Amie
"Where are you?"
"On our way, is he up and at 'em?"
"No, and the nurses don't think he will be"

It didn't matter how many times I re-read it- it didn't make sense.  Of course he would, it's Grampa- surely he won't die.  Now I felt silly since I had a pan of hot cinnamon rolls and a thermos full of coffee.  It was so awkward at first, because there were so many people in the room- but once I tuned them out I was able to talk to Grampa, tell him goodbye, thank him for being such a wonderful role model to so many.  I also scolded him, because I told him he could leave until I had twins--and clearly, I do not have them. Stubborn. ;)

You always wonder how you are going to get through something life changing, and when it happens, you may look back amazed.  I learned this week- God gives you grace, just enough, at the perfect time.  At Grampa's viewing and funeral you didn't see a bunch of burdened faces and uncontrollable crying (what I pictured I would be like years ago).  Yes we already missed Grampa, but we know where he is.  It is only our selfishness that would want him here, believe me I do--but I know he would never choose to come back- neither would I!!  We celebrated his life, we told stories and laughed-  at one point, my grandmother whispered to my dad "Do you think I'm smiling too much?"  (He chuckled and said "No") What a sweet heart, we had everyone that could make it in town- a reunion not planned but definitely enjoyed.  I've never spent so much time with my cousins, aunts, uncles, second cousins, great aunts and uncles, friends of family, etc- what a blessing that was.  Not to be rushed, but to actually have multiple conversations with the same person (With 107 people, when we are all together it's never more than a weekend and if you want to talk to everyone, one conversation, about 15 minutes is all you get!), what a special memory in itself. 

So Gramma, I agree with dad-- You smile all you want!  Your husband is in the presence of our King!  I know days of crying and missing him will come, so for now- You smile and laugh and remember the beautiful moments you shared, alone and with the people who loved you both!  I love you so much, and am looking forward to the day we get to sing praises to our God together! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

My heart is forever changed.

I'm sure most of us have compassion for 3rd world countries.  We see the videos of children with no clothes,  shoes, food, water- you name it- they probably don't have it.  I've donated here or there, but was pretty happy with my comfy cozy life.  Sometimes I even consider life tough (still do), but I don't even know the meaning of tough.  I've never had to wear the same clothes 2 days in a row let alone months.  I've never been more that a few hours from a tummy rumbling.  I've never had to walk miles for dirty contaminated water- I sometimes even scoff that all I have to drink in the house is water.  Clean, good for your body water.

11/11/11 will be marked as a day that changed my life.  Children of the World (COTW) choir sang at our church (Chilhowee Hills Baptist) and Vernon Brewer spoke.  What really did me in was the documentary they showed.  Like I said before, I've seen dozens of these that offer a few "aw, so sad" or even a flip of the channel.  This was different.  I don't know if I'm older, at a different place in my walk with God or because I have a daughter.  Whatever it was, this MESSED ME UP! (In a good way).