Losing someone close to you will never be an easy thing, and no matter how long you think you have, you can never really prepare yourself for their passing. I am so thankful, however, for the Lord's timing.
Just one week before, my sister and brother-in-law (who live in Louisiana) had decided to make a spontaneous trip to Chattanooga. My brother (who lives in South Carolina) also arranged for a visit so we could all be together. Sister and brother-in-law arrived last Wednesday afternoon and we got to spend several hours with Pawpaw. Brother arrived much later that night. After I got off of work the very next day (Thursday), we got a call to come to the hospital as Pawpaw was headed there by ambulance. He passed before we made it there.
This truly was God's timing. He brought my family safely to town and let them see and hug Pawpaw once more before the Lord took him home. If it had not been for their trip, my family would've had to travel many miles and many hours - likely in hysteria - to make it here. Also, I am so thankful that I was able to tell Pawpaw that I love him one last time - that memory will stay with me forever.
My first day back to work this past Tuesday was one of the hardest days I've ever lived. Rejoining life felt as though the world was starting to forget one of the best men it has ever known; life started to move forward and I just wanted to grasp tight and never let go of him. Now the stories we share are what keeps his memory with us; I have to keep reminding myself that his soul is alive and well.
It's a huge blessing to know that Pawpaw did accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior. I know where he is now and that he is healed and no longer suffering - knowing Heaven is where he now calls home somehow makes it easier to endure the pain of missing him. And honestly, that's all the pain is... missing his earthly presence. Unlike Christ followers, non-believers don't get to feel the peace and understanding that accompanies the death of a true believer. I cry because the world I know has been shaken but I can rejoice that my Heavenly Father has called my loved one home to a place where I will one day see his smiling face again - free from the oxygen cannula, free from worry, and free from pain.
I miss you every second, Pawpaw. I love you.