Ok this is something I wrote as a note on my Facebook page, but it is probably a good starting point for my blog. It gives some insight as to who I am and what has made the person I am today.
January 31st, is a normal day for most, but not for me. It has great memories associated with it that will stay with me forever. Today is the day 7 years ago I saw my wife for the first time on St. Simon's Island, GA. Sandy made the trip down to see this guy she had been talking to on the phone after months of chatting here and there online. That was the first night we were together and haven't been apart much since. It's also the day where 5 years ago I got out this little ring and asked Sandy to be my wife. She said yes and she's been wondering if that was the right choice ever since! LOL We have such a wonderful life together and I love here and my kids all very very much.
Today is also the day that my Paternal Grandmother was born. She passed away 7 years ago this past November and every year on her birthday is the day I chose to reflect back on her life and what she means to me. I've been wanting for years to tell my family about what this day means to me but just haven't been able to get myself to talk about it.
When my Grandmother passed away I was in Georgia for training regarding my job. I didn't really have the money to fly home on such short notice or the ability to miss many days of work without having to restart all of the training. So I sat in my dorm room alone, sad, grumpy and feeling guilty for not being there for my family, for my Dad, for my Grandma. I mean I was the oldest Grandson, I felt like I was some how the default leader of the Grandkids, the next in line after the Aunts and Uncles. I felt like I should have been by her side when she left this earth, that I should have been there to help carry the casket, that I should have been sitting at the front of the church with my Brother and Sister, that I should have been there to help hold my family up when they needed it most. But I wasn't, and that guilt has been there ever since.
The guilt gets less each year as time passes, and as I have been able to hear stories from Grandpa on her birthday, and see my Aunt remind me more and more of her each year. It helps, but it doesn't make it all go away.
How does this all end up tying into meeting my wife and the day I proposed to her, well it goes like this. As my Grandma lay on her deathbed and her time drew near, I got a call from my Dad updating me on her condition. Hoping she would improve but knowing that I may not get to speak to her again, Dad put the phone to her ear, and with a sobbing voice I spoke to her one last time. I told my Grandma that I had a good job, and I really liked it and that it was going to become my career, people were really nice and was having fun while working. I told her that all I needed now was to find the right woman and settle down and have a family. I think I ended it by telling her I loved her and missed her and hoped to see her soon. When I was done and was sobbing on the other end of the phone, Dad raised the phone to his ear again and said She heard you Jace. Dad knew she heard me because he could see it in her eyes, Grandma always had the brightest twinkle in her eyes, since she could no longer speak.
Some time after the conversation and the funeral, I started exchanging e-mails with a woman in Savannah. She was beautiful, sweet and made me laugh. Work was busy so I only got to send her a quick e-mail or rarely chat online. We almost met for the first time on that New Year's Eve, but my shyness and not talking on the phone yet prevented that and would have messed up the ending to the story. Anyway, after a few more e-mails, and a little bit of courage, we spoke on the phone, first exchanging voice mails, then a short conversation, then a long one, and then another. Soon it was time to meet.
Which of course takes us back to the start of my story, on January 31st, 2002 I laid my eyes on this beautiful woman, who became my wife.
Some people don't think there angels among us, but I beg to differ. When Grandma left this earth, she wasn't there to make her oyster stew or bake us chocolate chip cookies, but she is still with us, and she is still looking after us. She even put in a good word for me with the Big Guy upstairs and he brought Sandy into my life.
My Dad read this at the funeral:
"As all of you have heard, as Jerry had mentioned, the word NEVER came up quite a few times. That's a word that Mom grew to dislike very much. Because after having her stroke a few months later as she lie in the Watertown hospital, the doctor came in and said, "I'm sorry, but this is the best your Mom will ever be, and she will NEVER get any better." In the back of Mom's mind was a phrase, as Jerry Mentioned, BUT FOREVER will I try to prove them wrong. And as you all know after a few long months of work and dedication, Mom was home again, up walking and doing most of the things she enjoyed doing.
Then Monday evening as we were in the DeSmet hospital, the doctor came in about 9:00 and told us that they were giving her medication in order to try and get her kidneys going because they had shut down and if they didn't, Mom would be lucky to make it until noon the next day. So as all of us stay by her side hoping and praying that the medication would kick in and get her kidney's going, the time grew shorter and morning drew near. We knew that in our hearts it would be just a matter of time now before Mom would be with the Lord.
As I sat by her side, I happened to look at my watch and it said 12:00. In my mind I thought Mom had made her deadline. But then as I looked at the hospital's clock on the wall, it said about 4 to 5 minutes before 12:00. I thought to myself, if anything happens, I suppose we would use the hospital's time on the clock. So as my Aunt Jeannie and my wife, Janet, stand by Mom's side, Jeannie tells Janet to go get a nurse because something is wrong. This is the time Mom took her last breath. As the nurse came rushing in, she knew Mom was gone. She took a few vitals and pronounced Mom dead at 12:01. As I stood by her side, not with tears in my eyes, but with a smile on my face and heart, I knew Mom had proved them wrong one last time."
So on a day that marks the opening of 2 different chapters of my life it also reminds me of a woman that helped shape the man I am today. Numerous people told my family at the time of her death that my Grandmother was a wonderful person, she was a fighter, had a twinkle in her eye and they loved her sense of humor. I hope one day to have such kind words said about me.
Grandma, I love you, I miss you and I will see you again one day!