One day, nearly a year ago, my Poppy collapsed at work. He was rushed to the hospital. And it has been a downhill slide ever since. Poppy's heart valve needed replacing. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He was put on a super strict diet. He was in and out of the hospital multiple times. Then we found out, not long ago, that he was in the moderate stage of Alzheimer's.
This morning I woke up at 4am because a light came on down the hall. I was incredibly disoriented because I was not totally clear on what actually woke me. Then, almost instantly, my Dad appeared in my room. He was fully dressed - like dressed for evening church service. He said, "Poppy has just died. The hospital called. Your Mom and I are going there now. Ok?"
Ok? Am I ok? It took my mind a few minutes to fully process that information. But I instinctively replied, "Ok." What else am I going to say? No, it's not ok that my Poppy is gone. No, I am not ok with that. I can't believe I didn't go to the hospital the day before when I had the chance.
Probably about the time my parents were pulling out of the driveway, the full weight of it hit me. I was sitting on the edge of the bed crying. There was no way I was going to fall back asleep, so I went downstairs and waited for my kids to wake up.
Rea was a different story. I think she is at an age where the loss is felt more. I phrased it the same way. She burst into tears on the spot. And she has been crying off and on for most of the day. I had her climb into my lap right after I broke the news. She cried. I held her. Then she pulled up a chair next to me (we were in my home office). I told her I like to look at pictures when I am sad and missing someone. She said ok, and we scrolled through the large Poppy file.
I knew before I told her that I needed to let her process it in her own way. She needed to be allowed to have her own reaction. As she sat next to me, I asked her what she needed from me... what she thought would help her. She thought about it and responded with "I don't know, I am just really sad."
We have shared lots of hugs today. We watched Back to the Future: Parts I and II. We looked at a lot of pictures on the computer, lots in our family albums. We talked about Poppy. We talked about Lala. And I let her cry.
She told me she was probably going to cry all week, maybe even the month. I told her that it is ok if she does. And then I told her that Poppy was ready to go. He was very sick and very uncomfortable. He missed Lala so much. He told us that he lived a good, long life and he was ready to go. He would want us to be happy because he is happy now.
I know earlier I said that I opted out of camps for the summer. And I meant it. The only one Stu has full control over is the sleep-away Bible camp. It's the one he attended for most of his childhood summers. It's the one he has been a counselor at a few times. Anyway, it's important to him.
When we were newbies in our relationship, many people tried to get me to go to CFBC with Stu. Because, you know, "it's so special to him." I held firm to my mantra: I only camp at Ft Wilderness (Disney).
Two years ago, Stu went as a counselor. And since Rea was 6, she could go as a pre-camper. My mother-in-law went to help out with Rea.
Back then, Rea pretty much got to decide what she wanted to do... And for her, that was the zip line over and over and over. She could rest in her cabin when she needed a break. Basically, she created her itinerary. This year, it didn't quite work out that way.
Rea and Stu left for their trip. They were both so excited. They left after we got back from the gun range. Buddy and I were sad to see them go, but we were equally as psyched for our special "Mommy-Boy Week."
Rea and Stu had a great time getting there. And for a while, it worked. But Rea needs lots of sleep. Actually, Rea and Stu need lots of sleep. They both get super grumpy when they are hungry. I think the term "HANGRY" was coined because of them. I was wondering how the combo of hot, hungry and exhausted was going to work.
While they were up in Central Florida, Buddy and I were having an absolute blast at home. We laughed all the time. We played with Jackie and Meghan. Buddy taught me to play the Jurassic Park Lego game on Xbox. We worked a little, went on dates. And most impressively... I was able to get Buddy to put himself to bed at night! No more having to sit in the room with him. YAY! I am a rock star Mom!
Sometimes (often, really) we have to remind ourselves that Rea is really only 8 years old. She has always been wise beyond her years. We have always been able to speak to her as if she were older. I think sometimes we forget she is really only a little girl.
She was so exhausted from the late nights at camp. It was taking a toll on her. She wanted to leave. So she and Stu came home on Tuesday night.
We were so happy to have them home! For as much as they fight, the monsters love each other so much more. I adore these snuggle bugs.
I have officially begun the countdown to school... 3 weeks. Woo Hoo! I love them, but I will happily drop them off at school.
I want to take a minute to focus on the positive. See the good. Praise the awesome.
All things considered, this has been a great summer. I opted to forgo summer camps for my monsters. Those things are so expensive. Neither kid was dying to attend anything. And hubs choked on his drink when I told him what camps cost these days. I am #blessed to have a super flexible schedule.
I'll be honest, I was a little apprehensive about my "camp-free" decision. Could I do it? Could we survive the summer together? Would the kids kill each other? How much coffee would it take? How many headaches will I get? What on Earth are we going to do? Will the kids get super bored?
Besties Being Silly
We've had a lot of laughs. And I am so happy to see these two becoming absolute best friends. Sure, they bug the crap out of each other... but most of the time they want to play together and be with each other. *sigh* It warms my cold, cold heart.
Earn Your Stay Kids
The monsters have had to help out around the house more. It's not quite like having live-in help, not even close. But they have had fun building a new fence with Grandpa and taking care of The Beast.
Pretending to be Tourists
I always say the beach is for the tourists... real Floridians like pools. Argue with me all you want, this is my blog and my opinions. So we started the summer at the beach for a birthday party. And then the kids flew to Tennessee for a quick trip with their grandparents.
Reading... Yes, For FUN!
Rea has an insane amount of math summer work. And we are trudging through it. But this girl loves to read. She gets it from her Momma.
Since Buddy learned to read last year, he's been known to enjoy a book or two. Although, he's not as voracious a reader as his sister. He prefers to write stories. Hmm, wonder where he gets that from?
My oldest child, Reagan, is 10 and my son Riley is 8. I'm also currently pregnant with baby 3! Everyday is a crazy day in the life of the Stus!