My Papa

On December 11th at 6:35 my papa, the only grandfather I have ever known went to be with the Lord.  One of the hardest days in my life.  All of his loved ones stood with our hands on him, and we prayed as he took his last breath.  I think that is just how he would have wanted it. 

His body had been getting weaker and weaker the days leading up to his death.  He had dementia, and he was getting more confused everyday.  On Saturday December 1st he stopped breathing, and had to be rushed to the hospital.  After being admitted. and having tests run we learned that he had pneumonia, and fluid around his lungs and heart.  He would need surgery to remove the fluid, or he was going to die.  We knew the surgery was a risk with his age and condition, but we did not have a choice.  It was surgery, or watch him die a slow painful death.  We left it in God's hands and went forward with the surgery.  He told us he wanted the surgery.  He had a clear mind before surgery as we all told him how much we loved him, and he told us he loved us too.  That was the last time we would speak with him.

He made it through surgery successfully, but he was having trouble breathing on his own,so they left him on the ventilator. His surgery was on December 7th, and we were at the hospital around the clock from there on out.  He was doing really well, he would open his eyes when we would talk to him, he was responsive, and seemed to recognize us. I truly believe he was still with us until the day of his death.  On Tuesday the 11th they felt he was strong enough to come off of the ventilator.  We thought we would be taking him home soon.  My mom called, and asked if I could go to the hospital and sit with my grandmother while she went to pick Macy Kate up from school, and take her to my cousin.  I got to the hospital around 2:30, they had taken the vent out, and he was unable to breath on his own.  The doctors told us we did not have much time, and we needed to decide if we wanted to put him back on the ventilator.  The doctor said she felt like if we put him back on the vent, it would be the same thing when they tried to take him off again.  A vicious cycle, and his body was not getting any stronger.  My grandmother did not want to put him through that, and we all supported her decision whole heatedly.  It was his time to go, and his body was not strong enough to fight anymore.  I was so scared, and did not know what to do.  We asked him to fight until everyone could get there, and he did just that. He held on until everyone could get there, and tell him goodbye.  As morbid as it sounds talking about watching someone pass away, there was something so peaceful about it.  He was not in pain, and he slipped away in a little under three hours.  I am so thankful he held on, but it happened fast.  I am not sure I could have watched it go on any longer. 

He felt so strong about his faith, and I know without a shadow of a doubt where he is.  I had a wonderful relationship with him, while I know I will have my moments, I am at peace.  He lived a long amazing life.  He got to see me graduate college, get married, and have a baby.  There is not much more I could ask for.  He was not only alive for Hudson being born, but he knew him.  Right until the day before his surgery when I took Hudson to visit him.  He was such a special man that had such a positive impact on so many lives.  We knew that by the outpour of love and support we received.

I want to thank all of my friends and family that were so supportive in the days leading up and after his death.  I am not sure I would have been about to make it through this without you all. 

I knew before my papa had even passed that I wanted to speak at his funeral.  I knew it would be hard, and I wasn't sure I would even make it through it, but it was something I felt passionate about.  My grandfather had such a lasting impact on my life, and I wanted to tell people about it.  I come from a extremely close family, and I knew everyone would be able to relate to what I had to say.  When I say close, I mean we are even close with our extended family.  I knew just about everyone that came to the funeral, and I grew up spending time with them.  I hope that Hudson grows up with the same sense of closeness, and cherishes his entire family the way I do.  When something tragic happens, we stick together, and help each other through it.  Even though it was for a sad occasion it was so nice for us all to be together.  I managed to make it through my speech without losing control, and this is what I said about my papa:

First off I want to thank everyone for being here to celebrate the life of a wonderful man.

To most of you he was Jimmy, Jimmy Hugh, or Mr. Simpson. To me he was Papa, and I his little grandson.

Or so he told people.

I remember countless summers working with him in the garden, and cutting the grass. Nanny would say "if he took a step, I was two steps behind him"
That was usually followed up with watermelon by the well
He always put salt on his.

He always took me to the gas station
He would get tobacco, and I would get a sno cone.
He would always tell the clerk "this is my grandson ."

Then we would load up and head to the dump.
I will always cherish those rides in that little red truck. Most of the time I would Be asking a dozen questions, others we would sit in silence.
I loved watching him drive.

In fact, until I started learning how to drive I was certain you drove with two feet....because that's what papa did.

I always felt like I had a special bond with papa, but I think anyone who knew him felt that way.

He had the innate ability to make you feel like you were the only person in the world.

Time would never allow me to say all of the wonderful things about my papa, but the first thing that comes to mind is love.

Boy did that man love life., and it was infectious.

He loved his family more than anything, and he taught us all how to love.

He loved the lord. He taught me more about faith than I ever learned in a

He loved freely and without prejudice

He was such a selfless man. He was a second father and grandfather to so many.

When Connie needed a kidney, he gave her his without a second thought.

We can all take comfort in knowing a little piece of him is still here with us.

I remember vividly standing in nanny and papas kitchen, and as serious as can be Ashley said " so when papa dies does that mean Connie's kidney will stop working?"

I'm happy to see everything is still working properly.

He was such a proud man. You rarely saw a hair out of place or a shirt un-tucked.

I feel so blessed to have had my papa for almost 30 years, and I got to be with him until his last breath
I can rejoice in the fact that he is looking down on us right now, free of pain, he is no longer confused, and you can bet your bottom dollar he is dancing.

This room full of people is a testament to the man he was.

I want to thank my papa for all of the wonderful memories I will cherish forever. I want to thank nanny too. Papa helped mold this family, but you are the glue that held it together.

That pretty much sums my papa up. He had such a beautiful service full of love.  It was a true celebration of his life, and I know he would have bee so proud of it.  I am going to honor him by being a better Christian.  I know I will have my moments, and the holidays will be really hard.  It is nothing compared to the pain the victims families of the Newtown, CT shooting are feeling.  I will continue to pray for their strength in the days to come.  I am not sure I will ever understand how something like this can happen, but I know there is a reason, and I will trust in God's plan.

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