After such a rough week last week and a horrible start to this week, I really need the reminder of things I’m thankful for and things that bring me happiness. Last week, Wednesday, November 20th my pappy Paul passed away at 4:30 in the afternoon. He had lung cancer and had been in remission for years. A few months ago, it came back. Week before last, unbeknownst to me, the doctors had told him there was nothing else they could do for him. Anymore treatment would kill him. So they sent him home with my granny to make arrangements and live out the rest of his days. Hospice came in Wednesday morning for the first time. By that afternoon he was gone. After work on Wednesday, We took B to his friends playoff football game. We were cold, and enjoying some hot chocolate and watching my friends son’s team kick some butt, when my phone rang. It was my dad. He never calls so immediately I thought something was wrong. I left the bleachers and called him back. That was when I heard the words that changed and rocked my world. How can the world still turn and go on while one of the greatest men I ever knew in my life was not in it any longer? Anyway, Thursday I went to work and did my job just to keep busy. Friday, I stayed home and rested. That night was the visitation at the funeral home. Two hours of standing at his casket and not being able to say goodbye. Watching his friends and comrades from the VFW come to attention and salute him. Holding my granny’s hand as people gave their condolences. Hugging family members that I hadn’t seen in years due to being in Utah for so long. Reuniting with my cousins and meeting their wives and children.
Saturday was the funeral. We arrived just in time for my family processional to arrive and walk in to the church together. We left the boys with friends and family while we went. I knew it was going to be hard on me and I didn’t want to put them through it. My cousin, Jason, did the eulogy in his formal Navy Dress. He spoke of honor and valor since my pappy served in two wars, Korea and Vietnam. Before he finished, he called muster, which is a roll call that the military does after a battle to find out who survived and who had fallen. He did this while standing at attention and facing the American flag. It seriously made me come undone. Then we got in the procession to the grave side where they did the full military rite. Air Force Honor Guard carried my pappy from the hearse to the grave site. The preacher said a few words and the Honor Guard folded the flag, played Taps and fired the shots and presented the flag to my granny. Then my granny, daddy and his brother and sisters placed red roses on his coffin. I just stood there in the chilly air and cried. Thankfully Ian was by my side and held me up so I didn’t fall in the dirt. I hugged my granny harder than I ever had in my life.
We went back to the church for a meal after the funeral. Wonderful Southern women cooked and prepared a feast. We ate and then several of us went back to granny’s house. I was the last to leave minus my aunt and her husband, my cousin, his wife and daughter who were staying with her. We had a good visit filled with stories of the old days, silly things pappy did, laughs and some tears. I was able to bring a peace lily home from granny’s house. I am determined to keep it alive. Thank goodness it’s a forgiving plant.
So to sum up… sometimes your just not happy. Sometimes you have to be sad and grieve. That is what I am doing – grieving. Because I can’t imagine life without this amazing man who I had the privilege of being his granddaughter.
RIP Pappy Paul West I pray you are healthy and happy in the arms of the Father now.