Painful Goodbyes...

Well, I honestly meant to try and post at least once a week...but a tragedy struck my family last week and it was the farthest thing from my mind.

A week ago this past Thursday, my grandfather fell and hit his head. Doesn't sound to bad, huh? Well, it was bad...the worst kind of bad. He had a cranial bleed that caused irreversible damage. He laid there for 2 days in a coma. Last Saturday, about 5:15 pm, his breathing became very irregular and I held his hand as he peacefully slipped away.

I can honestly say that it was one of the most beautiful, special moments of my life. You see, my grandfather was more than just a grandparent. He was practically my father since my dad left when I was 5. He taught me how to drive the riding mower, the tractor and how to garden. He taught me the meaning of work.

On Monday, I looked at his yard and decided that it wasn't up to "Pa's standard" and I cranked up the riding mower and took care of that problem. It was a very cathartic thing to do. Besides, I was really tired of sitting around....I needed to DO something.

The funeral service was especially beautiful. Since my grandfather was a soldier in WWII, he was given full military honors.

Now I need to explain the most amazing part of the graveside service that many of you may think is corny or silly. Just as the horn player started TAPS, the cows at the neighboring farm started bellowing. To some this may sound like a tragedy but to the granddaughter of a cattle farmer...this was where I started uncontrollably crying. It was almost like the cows even knew what was gone. It was a perfect send off for him.

I will always miss my grandfather. I will miss his "fine, thanks" response when someone asks how he is. I will miss how he waved at people as they drove by. I will miss the person that is tried and true and always the same. I will miss his smile and I will miss his graciousness.

Rest In Peace, J.E. Smith...may you always rest in the arms of God.