One Year Ago

Ward

My daughter Alisha sent me this picture  and I wanted to share it.I guess everybody in my family is thinking about Ward today.I must admit I was too.Alisha is really good at taking pictures and making them special and I love this one.It made me think of how different today was compared to a year ago.I know now what the saying about time healing means.Last year at this time was probably one of the saddest days of my life.It was the day that Ward and cancer parted.Today I can rejoice in the end of suffering and not be selfish in letting go of a very dear person that I so loved.I love that smile on Wards face.Our Bethy was home from the Navy the day this picture was taken and she had just given Ward this hat from one of the officers in the Navy.I remember she told him that not everybody had a hat like that,it was an officers hat and he was thrilled to get it.

I don’t want to get sad because he is gone.I want to be thankful that I knew him.I know that I will see him again some day and he is in good company.Last year as I laid beside him as he was dying and even after he died I was so amazed that I wasn’t afraid.Death was a blessing for Ward because he was suffering.He fought the good fight up until the end and I am so proud how he left this earth.He was such a gentleman that even in death he was no trouble for me.He slipped away in quietness just like he came into my life.I didn’t want to meet him and I was as stubborn as a mule whenever Mom talked about him.All I could think was,here we go again.We never had an easy time with blended families and I wasn’t looking forward to another one.He was kind of stubborn too because it took him a while to warm up to us.After we adopted Bethany and Alisha they just one day started calling him Grandpa and he never corrected them.He was the only grandpa they ever knew.Bethy would crawl up on his lap and he would sit there like a statue.After a while he caved and he grew to love those little ones.He taught the girls how to drive in his Mustang and would take them for long car rides.They are the ones that really got him to go to church too.They kept bugging him to come to their Christmas program at church and one day Mom called me and announced that Perky wanted to get a new suit because he was going to the Christmas program.Once he went to church he was committed to that church.He went to everything and everybody loved him there.My Mom and he became good friends with every pastor we had.He cherished Bible study and he never missed.I knew those last few Sundays that he didn’t go to church the end was near.Perky knew where he was going and he was ready.

There is a lesson in this I want to share with my sweet grandkids.If I would have been as bullheaded as I wanted to be when Mom married Ward I would never have had this amazing man in my life.I wouldn’t have learned how to forgive things in my past and they would have anchored me down for the rest of my life.My walk with the Lord would have been compromised and I would have never healed.Sometimes you have to know when to fold and listen to that voice in your heart.Rejoice in the good and forget the bad.

I know that I never had the blood that ran through his veins in me and I accept that,but I did feel the same love in his heart and that means something to me.I miss him but he had to go and even in death he had this way about him.

Here is his tombstone and you can see what kind of a guy he was just by the words on it.It says I’m outta here and has a thumbs up for Little Ariana one of the grandkids he so cherished and spoiled rotten.

IMG_0209A year ago I couldn’t quit being sad but today I am thankful for the times we had before he was sick.Today I want to honor him and all he stood for in my life.I want to thank God that he sent me this man to help me and guide me and listen to me.I am a better person because I let him in.I hope that he realized how much he meant to me and if he didn’t I am sure my grandma is telling him now that he was blessed to have my sisters and me.I think they will be bragging about how good we turned out and proud they are of us.I can only imagine……………….

The Potato Salad Was Ordered

ward 001Death is a funny thing.I make that statement because it has consumed the life of our family for about four years now.We have had a lot of time to analyze it,be afraid of it,dread it,and finally long for it.Our wonderful brilliant stepdad finally made it a reality a few days ago and as usual he made it a learning experience for my sisters and me and we all agree even though we are so missing him already we will be eternally grateful for the experience.

I really hate calling Ward my stepdad because it doesn’t clarify what he was to my sisters and me.There are six of us and we all have had many experiences with STEP fathers and to put our Ward in the same category is almost unthinkable.Step is like wicked to me in the family department and he never was.We knew we weren’t his kids and I personally was glad we didn’t go down that road because I remember my dad and really didn’t need a replacement.I needed someone to replace the sourness in my heart from the men that where put in the stepfather position before him.What we got was a man that could teach us to trust again,to not be afraid for our mother,and to mentor us in the world of living right and he did that and more.I am proud to call him something more than stepfather,I call him friend.

Ward explained everything in detail to us and his death was no exception.He taught us to never give up hope and to live each day as an example to our children.He took the time to explain what would happen to his body as it began shutting down and even though at the time I didn’t want to hear it I am now glad that I listened.I am a Christian and I know where I am going after I die but the actual act of dying has always scared me and touching a dead body was out of the question.Ward changed that not just for me but for my sisters Linda and Loretta also.We hugged and kissed him in the middle of  his ragged breathing and even after his death we laid quietly beside him.Thank you so much dear friend for teaching us even in your darkest hour.You not only took the fear of the unknown away from me but you gave me back the same love I had for my sisters when we were growing up afraid.My aching heart has mended.As I know yours is my soul is also at peace.

We laughed and we cried and it now reminds me of just how witty you were.I remember when you were first diagnosed and then came over to talk to us about it.You said maybe we should just call Luke’s and order the potato salad and I was amazed how you could laugh about your own funeral dinner.Mom looked at me and just shook her white head……………and smiled.

I want you to know we will continue to do as you wanted us to.We have always been your work horses and we won’t let you down Our aim is to make you proud and to try to repay you in some small way for the wisdom and guidance you gave us all.We did it for love not for money.

Oh and if you are by chance stopping your conversation with your brother Larry right now we want you to know —————-the potato salad was good.