papa henry

one week ago from today  our phone rang at 3am. a ringing phone in the middle of the night is rarely a good thing.  it was my sister in law.  immediately i knew that this was a phone call you fear.  for the next several minutes, as emergency responders were with henry, my sister in law explained minute by minute the nightmare that was taking place 45 miles away. 

my father in law, henry, had gotten up in the middle of the night and collapsed. rhonda is a physical therapist who works in home health. she has an amazing ability to stay calm and think clearly, the opposite of me in these situations. so when she said it did not look good... i knew this was not good.
we waited together on the phone for ems to give us answers  i wanted to know "what" to tell jeff when i woke him up. soon another ambulance arrived. they were taking henry to the hospital. ems never gave us the answers we were waiting for. we later learned why.

jeff was in route when my sister in law called me back. she didn't want to give jeff the bad news while he was driving. the doctors at the hospital believed that when henry collapsed, he died immediately. there was nothing they could do.

the following days were a blur. within hours of his death, the family was sitting with a funeral director writing an obituary. we would attend graduation ceremonies and funeral ceremonies, some on the same day.  we live in small southern towns where the communities are tightly knitted. the outpouring of love and support was overwhelming. 

ruth is my mother in law by marriage. my goodness we love her to pieces! she has the kindest heart of anyone you will meet and this heart was truly grief stricken. we are so thankful for the support system she has in her daughter.

jeff and i agreed that one of the hardest parts of the entire week was reliving his mother's funeral 20 years ago. barbra was 57 when she died suddenly of a massive heart attack. the grief came flooding back with intensity. "she never got to" lists were endless. but i grieved that she never got to meet the granddaughters she longed for.

just like barbra's death, a few days after the funeral we were helping to get the house in order. a whirlwind of emotions accompany this process. 

henry will be missed by so many. we are thankful for the eighty full years he was blessed with. someone sent me this picture and i debated whether or not to share it. but the sight of the grandsons as pallbearers was a sweet sight in and awful situation.  

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