These past days have been extremely emotional for me, as I just returned home from Louisville (my hometown) after five very long, difficult, yet inspirational days. I have a renewed appreciation for life, family, health, and determination.
My grandfather, known as Granddaddy to me, has been in and out of the hospital fighting a weak heart for a while now. They finally diagnosed the problem and scheduled him for surgery, but about one week before the surgery, he experienced yet another heart attack and went back into the hospital. I was on the phone daily for the past few weeks to follow his status, but after learning that this time was much more serious and that he had requested the removal of his breathing tubes, I immediately booked a flight and headed home.
I arrived early on Thursday morning and spent some very emotional time with my Granddaddy and the rest of my family, as the doctors prepared us for the most likely scenario when life support is removed. The amazing thing was, that minutes after removing these tubes, none of these expected scenarios played out. Instead my Granddaddy peacefully looked around the room, and then asked about the weather. As you can imagine, at such an intensely emotional time, this very light-hearted question brought out a round of laughter from almost every family member (nothing new for my Granddaddy!!).
The three days following were days of miracles, struggle, strength, humor, and bonding. I witnessed strength from a man that I only knew as gentle, and humor in a time of typical sorrow. I witnessed the miracles of God and the gift of family. My Granddaddy gave me the gifts of love, joy, hope, determination and acceptance. He also unknowingly gave me a swift kick in the butt to remind me of the importance of family and true priorities.
My grandfather fought an amazing battle, but ultimately his physical body is ready to rest...although I have no doubt that his spirit will go on stronger than ever! My Granddaddy was an amazing man with many, many amazing stories to tell. I only hope that I inherited one ounce of his strength!! I am grateful to God for these past days, as difficult as they were, and don't ever want to forget to take time to celebrate the many miracles of life!