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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meemaw Reunites with Pawpaw

Unfortunately, I don't have a very happy reason as to why I haven't posted in a while.  This past Sunday, Josh and I got text messages early in the morning letting us know that his grandma, Dottie/Meemaw, was in the ICU and didn't have much longer to live.  We were surprised by this news, and immediately started packing to leave for Covington.  We have amazing neighbors who took care of Paxton at the last minute allowing us to go dog-free.  We got to the hospital Sunday afternoon and got to peek in on Meemaw.  Apparently she had a stroke Saturday evening and had bleeding in her brain.  We knew she was on the verge of needing some more assistance in terms of her living situation, but we didn't expect anything like this at this point.  Josh stayed at the hospital with his aunts, uncles, and other family members and good friends.  Jackson and I headed to Meemaw's house to get settled in and have a nap.  We went back to the hospital after naptime to meet up with Josh and the rest of the family.  Some more family members had arrived, and we all headed out for dinner.  I know so many people that say the same thing, but it was really nice to get to visit with family members we don't see often, even though the circumstances weren't very happy.  We weren't really sure what the next steps were for Meemaw, but Josh, Uncle Larry, and Aunt Jeannie were going to meet with the social worker in the morning to discuss Hospice options.
I LOVE this picture of Meemaw and Pawpaw!  SO sweet!
The decision of what to do next was made about 2:30 Monday morning when Dottie (Meemaw) passed peacefully away.  Neither Josh nor I had really slept much, and then Larry called around 2 saying there was only an hour or so left.  Josh went right to the hospital and he, Larry, and Jeannie were all there when she passed.  Josh got back home around 4:30 and we just both stayed awake.  Jackson decided to join us an hour later, so it was an early start for us all...  Josh and Larry spent the morning running around making arrangements.  There was availability at the funeral home, church, and cemetery allowing us to have the visitation Tuesday evening and the funeral Wednesday afternoon.
Dottie and Jeannie
Ronnie (Josh's dad), Dottie, and Pawpaw

Josh, Dottie, Larry, and Jeannie

We used the time in between the events to visit with family members and friends of Meemaw.  She certainly was a well-loved woman both in the family and in her church :)  I know Josh and I have both found peace in the fact that she is now reunited with both Pawpaw and Josh's dad, Ronnie.  Josh and I also were able to start making some progress on the house. We got lots of sorting done and it looks like the plan is to place the house on the market this coming spring.

Meemaw and Jackson
This was quite a challenging time for our little family within the larger Smith clan.  Josh rose to the challenge for sure.  He was quite amazing to watch.  He was the perfect mix of strength, compassion, help, love, and concern.  He filled the roles of grandson, brother, nephew, uncle, cousin, father, husband, and friend.  He jumped right in and helped make decisions and just got a lot of things done!  I struggled as I tried to completely support him while also taking care of Jackson.  I know that was important since the happier he was the more productive Josh and I could be, BUT I couldn't help but feel I wasn't doing enough.  I think we did ok, in the end :)
Dottie and some members of her church family (Peggy Yancey is in the pink shirt in the middle of the back row and Ed is right next to her)
The Yancey family was indispensable during our time in Covington.  Joe's mom, dad, grandma, and sister and her family live in Covington.  Joe was away for work, but Susie and Rachel came right down to support us.  Susie kept Jackson a couple of different times and shuttled him around--so helpful!  Joe's sister, Erin, kept Rachel and Jackson (along with her own son, Brayden) the night of the visitation.  Having Susie at the visitation was really nice.  It was wonderful having one of my best friends right there as a friendly face to focus on.  I know Jackson had a much better time playing with his friends at his "jammy party" than he would have at the funeral home.  On Wednesday, Jackson played at Joe's mom and dad's house and then napped while the rest of us were at the funeral.  Again, so helpful to have him otherwise occupied and on a "normal" schedule!
A few years ago, Larry and Murph took Dottie and Goldie on a resort vacation!  They had a great time--good memories!
The service at the church was really very nice.  The pastor is a very nice man, and he had lots of nice things to say about Dottie.  Josh, Josh's cousin, Danny, and a couple of ladies from Dottie's Sunday School class spoke and told some funny stories.  It was a gorgeous fall day, so our time at the cemetery was quite pleasant.  The flowers sent in memory of Dottie were all beautiful! After the cemetery we went back to the church where there was a yummy meal served for family and friends.  It was nice to have that chance to chat and visit with each other. 

We stuck around Covington most of Thursday before having an early dinner at our favorite non-Lou-Malnati's pizza spot.  Jackson was a trooper while Josh and I were busy with "business" things--it really was a blessing that he had a few opportunities to play with friends.  Things certainly will be different now that Meemaw is no longer with us, but we all know that she is more comfortable and in a happy place :)

The pictures in this post are from the amazing photo montage Josh created in memory of Dottie.  He created an amazing photo montage that played at the visitation and after the church service.  He found quite the collection of photos and got it all together in a very short amount of time!
The Benson Sisters: Lil, Dottie, Bettie, and Patti
A more updated picture of the four sisters :)

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