Your momma recently reminded me that it’s been a while since I have written to you and that it was time that I get back to it. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write, I’ve jotted down stuff in one of my many notebooks, I just haven’t been on the computer very much in the last few months. As I explained to you before sometimes life gets hectic and you have to stop and re-examine your priorities in life.
At the beginning of May your Nana’s daddy, Great Grandpa Buck’s health started to decline. Throughout the past few years he has endured more than one heart surgery, bone spur surgery on his spine, and most recently a battle with cancer. So priorities change, it was more important to me, us, to spend as much time possible with great grandpa Buck than be on a computer. We traveled up north to visit every chance we got, your Nana sometimes spent long periods of time at great grandpa’s to take care of him, she loves her daddy so much and she wanted to be there for him just like he has been there for her.
It still amazes us that as weak as he became, it didn’t stop him from playing with you. You both made each other laugh and smile. I want you to know how much he loved you. He took great pride in knowing that you were his great grandson and that you were being raised by an amazing momma. A lot of who your momma is comes directly from the time she spent with great grandpa. He had a big influence on her life.
Every time great grandpa had to go to the hospital, you were there to visit. Something he treasured very much. When great grandpa returned home the decision was made that it was time for him to have Hospice care, not an easy decision to make. Let me explain what Hospice care is all about. Hospice is a philosophy of care. The hospice philosophy or viewpoint accepts death as the final stage of life. The goal of hospice is to help patients live their last days as alert and pain-free as possible. Hospice nurses try to manage symptoms so that a person’s last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. They treat the person rather than the disease; they focus on quality rather than length of life. Hospice care is family-centered — it includes the patient and the family in making decisions. Great grandpa’s nurse Carrie was nothing short of incredible, to your great grandpa and the entire family she was simple a blessing from God.
We were warned that as great grandpa’s time of passing drew close he may experience a great day or two and that we should not take that as a sign of him getting better, but rather that his time with us was close to ending. Those 2 days came on June 16th and 17th of 2012. You, Nana, and your momma went to visit great grandpa Buck that weekend and it was a great time for all of you. Great grandpa had been using a wheelchair for awhile, but on this weekend he slipped out of the wheelchair and got on the floor and played with you. You so enjoyed playing with him your momma told me, and so did he. We went back and visited the next weekend, the 23rd and 24th, and although he played with you in the kitchen, him in his wheelchair and you sitting on the little kitchen table, we could tell that he was struggling and we had to accept the fact that the end was nearing though no one wanted to say it.
Three days later at 2:30am of Wednesday June 27th, your Aunt Kathy called Nana and said that great grandpa was being taken to the hospital and we needed to come now. Your Nana and I told your momma that we were heading up north and that we would call as soon as we knew something. The drive is usually 2 1/2 hours but I needed to get your Nana there as quick as possible to be with her daddy so that she could say her goodbye. I don’t approve of speeding, you should never do this, remember that, but this time I broke my rule. It wasn’t long after we got to the hospital that great grandpa slipped into a coma. That afternoon you and your momma arrived and you were able to come into the room. I want you to know that he was not in pain, the staff did everything possible to make sure that he was comfortable.
The next day was June 28th, Nana and my 32nd wedding anniversary. At noon while the rest of the family was down the hall, your Nana and one of the hospice nurse’s washed great grandpa up and freshened up his bed. As they finished, with Nana at his side your great grandpa passed away. We entered the room just after he had passed and only minutes later you and your momma walked in. While everyone was crying and saying goodbye to great grandpa, when your momma came to the bedside with you, you looked down at great grandpa, smiled, and reached out to go to him. In your own way you said goodbye to great grandpa. For the next few days with family all around we celebrated great grandpa’s life. We cried, we laughed, we told stories, we even sang. Although we lost someone we dearly loved, it’s important that we rejoice in the time we had together.
Over the next month we were busy helping great grandma Boo get things in order and odd jobs around her house. Then on August 7th I got a call from my dad, great grandpa Jim, letting me know that great great grandma Laurel had passed away, she was 105. You, your momma and I had just been up north to visit just a few days earlier and her passing was unexpected.
So as I stated at the beginning of this letter, life has been a little hectic and I promise I will write more. I hope as you grow you will learn that the time you spend with the ones you love far out weigh anything else you will do. And that is why I have stayed away from the computer, I have been spending time with you. You will always have my undivided attention and love.
We did receive some exciting news in the midst of all this, you have a new cousin on the way, Uncle Jesse and Aunt Carlee are expecting their first baby next March 1, 2013. We found out on June 30th and if it’s a boy they already have a name picked out, Oscar James Pierce, named after great grandpa Buck.
I know I went on a little long this time so I’ll draw this one to a close with one request. Although your new cousin will be living in Georgia and you in Michigan, stay close. Family is very important and as close as your Aunt Carlee and your momma are I can foresee you and your cousin having a lot of great adventures together.