Grandma Boo is with God

Great Grandma Boo

Great Grandma Boo

Dear Lincoln,

I know it has been sometime since I wrote to you on this blog, about 2 months, but believe me I have wrote a lot in my many notebooks, iPhone Apps, iPad, and the many pieces of scrap paper and napkins I grab in a hurry.  It’s just been difficult to sit at the computer and type it out as we have been very busy the last few months.  I have some time today so I thought I would write a few letters to you and this first one is about Great Grandma Boo.

Lincoln & Great Grandma Boo

Lincoln & Great Grandma Boo

You have been a big part of helping Great Grandma Boo in her fight with cancer.  Now you may not believe that but your visits with her brightened her days and brought so much joy to her.  You have shown an uncanny knack of knowing when someone is hurting and you respond with such compassion for someone so young.  You melted her heart each time you would place your tiny little hands on her face and shower her with gently kisses.  Unfortunately Great Grandma Boo passed away on July 31, she is now no longer in pain and is with God and Great Grandpa Buck.

Little man, Boo was Nana’s momma, and my mother in-law.  The dictionary defines the term mother-in-law as – the mother of your spouse – a relative by marriage.  I have never been able to use that term with Boo, she has and always will be my mom.  I could write pages upon pages about Boo.  How she raised 4 girls into incredible women of God, her love for her husband of 58 years, how she turned a wayward boy into a man, how she instilled love, worship, family, integrity….did I mention love?, into every child, grandchild and great grandchild in her family.  I could write about how she cared for the love of her life until last June when he lost his battle with cancer.  How she found out only weeks later that she too had cancer and was told she had 3 months.  I could write about how she fought, prayed, loved, and held tight to her faith that in the end God has a plan.  I could write about the joy, the laughter, the guidance and the love she shared with all that were blessed enough to know her.  I could, I could write and write and write, but I won’t, not now.  Lincoln I want to share with you what your Uncle Jesse wrote and asked me to read at Great Grandma Boo’s funeral.

Keep love in your heart….. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.-Oscar Wilde

Daughter, Sister, Mother, Aunt, Grandmother, Great Grandmother…… This is the natural progression of a Woman. It is an inevitable progression of life. But what do those titles mean? What makes you a Mother or a Grandmother? What defines you after your days have passed? What defines your legacy? Your legacy is no more than a tiny footprint in the fabric of time. Legacy is a term most often associated with men of great achievements; men of war, power, or great intellect. They leave something lasting for the people of the world. But what of the smaller footprints in the sand? Are they less important, less meaningful? What happens when the small foot prints branch off into tiny ones, and then divide again? These are the footprints of every woman that has strode side by side with her husband, best friend and partner. Their lives so intertwined that often the tracks are indistinguishable from one another.

There is a common quote we hear….. “Behind every great man there is a great women”; unfortunately this is terribly inaccurate. As any couple can profess there are many times there is a single set of tracks to follow. Those are the instances that a woman must step forward and carry her partner through a moment of weakness. The only time she may falter or fall behind are deviations she must take in order to look after her own daughters, or grandchildren. She is the mother, she must not let harm befall her flock. She is the torchbearer, a rallying point, a light in the darkness for her offspring. This is no easy task as any matriarch can attest to, all throughout the cycle of life it is the matriarch that is the binding glue that holds the family group together. While the men fight their fights, harvest their crops, and dream of glory the mother is left holding the end of each delicate string, weaving them into a family tapestry.

Mom was the matriarch of her pride, a proud family. Every person sitting here today has been shadowed by her tracks in the sand. She was the driving force behind a much loved patriarch. Often times she was the quiet force without the mane; but when needed a fierce protector of her family or the gentle guiding hand for a daughter or grandchild. We know that there was nothing in her life more important than her pride,….. her family. No one knows a mother’s love like her own offspring, and each one of those cubs have grown and guide a pride of their own. Sometimes the love is shadowed in a harsh hard or a hard lesson. But inside you know that the matriarch is doing her best to guide you to the path in the sand so you may leave your own prints, branching off ever more; but forever alongside your husband, partner and best friend, as she did.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God upon every remembrance of you. ~Philippians 1:2-3 

Lincoln I pray that God blesses you each and every day, I love you little man, Puppa

‘God will never give you more than you can handle’

Lincoln, Momma Haley and Great Grandma Boo at Uncle Jesse and Aunt Carlee’s Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony. July 2012

Dear Lincoln,

I recently wrote to you and explained how in that past few months we experienced 2 great losses in our family, great grandpa Buck passed away on June 28 and great great grandma Laurel passed away on August 7.  Now, just as most family members are beginning to adjust and move on with their daily lives, we found out yesterday that great grandma Boo has advanced cancer.  The doctors tell us that the cancer has filled 2/3 of her left lung and that the rest of her lung has collapsed.  She is only breathing with her right lung.  The cancer has also spread to her brain.  There is nothing that can be done for her, it’s too far advanced.  Next week after some more tests we find out how long she has left.

Great grandma Boo has spent the last few years caring for great grandpa Buck and she may have ignored how she left and probably didn’t go to the doctor when she should have.  The news was devastating to your Nana.  Her mommy and daddy mean the world to her.  It just seems so unfair right now and everyone’s questioning “Why God Why?”.  For some in the family, their faith is beginning to waiver.

In the Bible Paul tells us: “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with your testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Over time that promise has become abbreviated to “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Like many others, I’ve derived comfort from these words, though I know God does not “give” me loss, pain and grief.

Let me stress that this verse does not imply that God won’t let you be stressed beyond what you can bear.
Or challenged beyond your ability.
Or pushed beyond your threshold.In reality, God gives you more than you can bear all the time. On purpose.
It’s only when you can’t bear the load that the strength of Christ kicks in…
and He becomes everything you need and more.

Count your blessings, we’re told, but it’s just not in our nature. We’d rather count our problems. Our species survived by reacting instantly to threats, and the ancient humans who stopped to smell the roses made easier targets for predators.

Today, the predators are mostly gone, but we’re still so primed to pay attention to bad news that we tend to ignore what’s going well. As soon as we solve one problem, we take the progress for granted and find a new cause for alarm. Every now and again it doesn’t hurt to take stock of just how good we have it.  I urge you to always count your blessings.

I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that there will be good times and there will be bad times in your life.  It will be up to you how you deal with the bad times.  For me I have learned to be thankful for what I have and not worry about what I don’t have.  I’m thankful for every minute I had with great grandpa Buck and great great grandma Laurel.  As I have told you before great grandpa Buck was the most influential person in my life, I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for him.  We will concentrate on the time we still have with great grandma Boo instead of dwelling on losing her soon.

You have been such a joy in all our lives, I treasure every minute I have with you.  Bear with us as we go down this path together again.  We will get through this as a family, with much love, understanding, and faith that we will all be together again.

I love you Lincoln, Puppa

Called Home to Heaven

Dear Lincoln,
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.

As always little man, I love you so much, Puppa

See you in a week

Dear Lincoln,

Nana and I have headed to Georgia for a week to visit your Aunt Carlee and Uncle Jesse. I’m wondering how this is going to go as it will be the longest stretch of time of not seeing you. I’ve gotten quite spoiled with you living so close that I get to see you almost everyday. Your momma said that she will send us photos of you while we are gone (thank goodness).

This photos are from the night before we left. See you in a week, be a good boy.

I love you, Puppa.

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