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Our big girl!

Our big girl!
Growing so fast!

Kylie 1 day old

Kylie 1 day old
Curling up

Bryleigh Addison

Bryleigh Addison
Our youngest miracle


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Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Granddaddy

Yesterday, on November 28, my 29th birthday, my wonderful Granddaddy left this world to join our Savior in Heaven. The pain and hurt just is so difficult to sort through right now, and I am lost and hurt and broken. But, I have so many amazing memories of my Granddaddy, and I am so grateful that we were so incredibly close. He means the world to me, and we have always had a special bond because I was the first grand child. For nearly 5 years, I was the only grandchild, so needless to say, we spent a LOT of time together.

My dad reminds me often that he just laughs when he thinks about  Granddaddy finding out he was going to be a grandfather. For one, he said he was "too young" to be a grandparent, and then the second thing he said was, "Well, I'm  not going to be one of those doting grandfathers." And my dad just laughed, because the minute I was born, he became that "doting" grandfather, and we've been inseperable ever since.

When I was a little girl, I didn't go to daycare; I went to a babysitter. Nearly every day (at least a few times a week), Granddaddy would pick me up early so we could do things together. Sometimes, we went to the park, or to the train depot downtown. Other times, he would take me back to "the office" (the construction company), to a job site, or to his and Granny's house. When I was little, Granny was the secretary at the office, and so I would sit on her desk and she would paint my fingernails and toenails. I would play store with the office supplies in the cabinets. More importantly, I would sit in Granddaddy's lap in his big blue leather chair at his desk, and we would draw and write, and color, and talk. He let me help him write checks, and he even, for a few summers, paid me to work at the office- I made copies and licked envelopes and stamps (before the pre-sticky ones), and cleaned up. On the days that I spent the night at their house, we would go to the office on Saturday mornings to clean. My FAVORITE part about the office visits? The ice cream man. He drove by in the afternoon, and we could hear him coming, so Granddaddy and I would RUN outside to flag him down, and we'd get an ice cream together. My favorite? Mickey Mouse ice cream (the chocolate ears and all, you know, the awesome stuff). He would get a popsicle sometimes, but it just depended on the day.

I spent a lot of time at their house on the weekends, during the week, etc. Every Saturday night was steak night. Granddaddy had a grill built in to the stove in the house, and he would grill our steaks (filet mignon only) on the grill inside the house (how freakin' cool is that?!) and bake the potatoes in the oven, and I will always remember him tossing the potatoes with his oven mitts because they were so hot... and he would take us outside to the backyard and swing with us, and play croquet with us, and the best yet; we got to shoot a BB gun at a Mr. Clean bottle (or anything we could find, really). Every Halloween, we went to their house- Granddaddy loved walking us around the neighborhood to all his friends and neighbors, the same ones who had watched my dad and uncles trick-or-treat, and many of them made us special candy bags. He would walk with his hands in his pocket, or holding one of our hands. He was so proud of us.

Granddaddy had tea parties with me, and watched us dress up in Granny's costume jewelry and high heeled shoes. He took us shopping, and nearly every time he or Granny saw us, they pulled out a $20 bill or a $10, or anything at all. He always made sure that there was plenty of stuff for us to do, and he came to every event that they could possibly come to. Kindergarten graduations, my DARE graduation in 5th grade, 8th grade graduation, high school, and both of my college graduations.

As we got older, it became more important to go to lunch with Granny and Granddaddy. We would go to a few places, but Granddaddy's favorite seemed to be Long Horn. Red Lobster wasn't far behind. Over the past several years, I would make sure that every school holiday, every summer, and every chance we could, we went to lunch together and enjoyed a meal and good company. He always said, as we left, "the food was good, but the company was even better." One of my most favorite places to visit with him was Big Spring Cafe. Love, love, LOVE going there, and sitting on the stool at the counter beside him. He always seemed so proud to have any of his grandchildren as a lunch date, a breakfast date, a dinner date, or just hanging around.

Growing up, we also had Auburn season football tickets. The WHOLE family- Granddaddy, Granny, Uncle Mark, Aunt Linda, Brad, my parents, me and Sissy... we all sat together for years. Granddaddy would take us to the playground to play when we arrived in Auburn. He would buy us pom-poms at the gift shop. He would cuddle close to us when we were cold, and he would take us to breakfast at the cafeteria... he did everything with us. We loved every minute of being with him.

While many people on the business side, or even older adults in the family, saw the Lanford streak of stubbornness, or the commanding way that he could speak, or the forceful nature he had, that side almost never came out to his grandchildren. He was always gentle, kind, and happy with us. Always.

So many things make me think of Granddaddy. Granddaddy LOVED IBC Cream Soda. He loved Klondike bars. His favorite meal was a steak dinner with baked potato (and again, a filet mignon only). He used to keep strawberry candies AND caramel squares in his office. He preferred water to drink. He always kept Citrus Magic spray in the bathrooms at his house and the office. He loved old westerns and old country music. He loved guitars, and he loved the holiday gatherings with us. He always carried a hanky. Terry's Pizza. Dessert- he had a sweet tooth for sure. Basset hounds. Dress slacks and button up shirts no matter what. Cadillacs with leather seats. Money clips. Auburn football. The list goes on and on...

My heart hurts so bad, but I am so, so grateful that I have 29 years of memories, love, and laughter with one of the most amazing men I've ever met. He demonstrated what a long, happy marriage is about. He held doors open for all women. He called us "doll" and "hun". He loved to play with the kids, and his laugh still echoes in my soul. He would scare the heck out of us with his powerful sneeze, but it always made us giggle.

Three years ago, when my Kylie was born, he and Granny went to visit her many times. And when we lost her, he felt so heart-broken, not only because he lost her, too, but because he couldn't fix my hurt. Even up until last Wednesday, mentioning Kylie put tears in his eyes. He loves her, too, and missed her. My great joy in the midst of all of this hurt is that my Granddaddy is now holding Kylie for the very first time. He is rejoicing in the presence of our Lord, with his great-granddaughter in his arms.

After 5 long, agonizing months, battling with chemo and cancer and sickness, Granddaddy's body is at peace. His soul is resting, and his body is healthy and strong. No more chemo. No more miserable days. No more struggling to get up in the morning. No more "waiting" for something bad to happen. God answered my prayer by healing my Granddaddy's body. I know I will have a lot of spoiling to undo when I finally get to Heaven, but Kylie is going to create memories with her great-granddaddy just like I did with him. Nothing in this world will ever replace either one of them, but knowing them and loving them has changed my heart forever.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What hurts the most...

For the past few weeks, my Granddaddy's health has deteriorated rapidly. We are now possibly down to days before his passing, and my heart is grieving heavily already. My Granny is in the nursing home and doesn't know what is going on, and my Aunt Vera is in a rehab home for her partial hip replacement from last week.

All of this is enough, but the grief is bringing back those bouts of depression and extreme, severe loneliness. The past few days, barely anyone has commented to me. Barely anyone has "liked" my statuses or posts. Barely anyone has said "I'm so sorry you're going through this, Amber." Even the people I am supposed to be closest to haven't either acknowledged this pain at all, or they have not checked on me and what is going on. I have felt so shut out and shut off, and I know some of it is the grief, but other parts of it is reality.

I really want to know what I have done so wrong that makes people look at me differently. I really want to know why people don't acknowledge me or what I've said, or don't feel the need to check in on me. What have I done that is so wrong that people do not like me anymore? Apparently, a lot of people have decided not to "follow" me or see my updates anymore, because many more people used to see and say things about my posts. I feel so alone and forgotten, and completely and utterly hopeless and overwhelmed.

No one truly understands these feelings, because they aren't me, but many people are probably laughing as they read this "oh, she's such a baby... she's so needy... she needs to grow up and get a life." How would you feel if someone who meant so much to you was dying and no one cared about it?

My granddaddy is someone I have looked up to my entire life. He is someone I have spent much of my childhood and adult life with. We would go to lunch, to go shopping, to the train depot, or I'd just stay at their house and visit or spend the night. I went many places, even job sites, with Granddaddy, and at almost 29 years old (my birthday is Wednesday, which makes it all the more difficult), I just want to curl up in my Granddaddy's lap and lay my head on his shoulder while he calls me "doll" and reads me a book or watches tv with me. I want someone to make it all stop, to take the pain away. This all-too-familiar grief had left me for a while... the deep, most painful part of grief, anyway, but I forgot how consuming, how badly it pulls you down and brings you down. No one ever comments on my blog anymore either, so I guess I'm safe to put my emotions out here in my blog because no one will read it. I just, I wish I knew more people cared. I don't expect lots of comments and posts on all that I do- just expected that some people who I thought were dear friends would be more concerned and caring.

So my heart is broken because I'm watching my Granddaddy die, and my heart is broken because I don't have much support in the loss of him. I just cannot take much more of the desperately lonely feelings...