|My grandmother "Nan", a few summers ago|
It's been quite a ride and as sad as I am about my grandmother passing away, I'm also incredibly happy for my sweet cousin Tiffany and my Dad's new heart, which will hopefully give him the gift of a much longer life. How do you take all that in? How do you process all those emotions and feelings.
We found out my grandmother had a heart-attack in mid-August and thankfully Michael and I were able to drop what we were doing, go down and spend her last week on earth with her. I'm so thankful for that time. I'm thankful that my job was willing to be flexible and give me that special time with her. It was a gift I will never forget! She was such an amazing woman. Words cannot adequately describe the legacy she leaves behind in 2 sons, 5 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren. My dad wrote a beautiful tribute to her for the local paper and her life was truly lived well.
Many of the recipes on this blog have been because of Nan. She taught me how to make skillet dinner, she loved Caesar salad, and she taught my Dad how to make his famous pancakes. She was a gifted listener and she loved her grandchildren more than anything in the whole world. We were all truly blessed to have her as our grandmother.
Tiffany's Beautiful Wedding
My cousin Tiffany is a lot like me. I've often thought of her as a younger sister, even though she's really not that much younger than me. We look a lot alike and we have similar physical builds and even the same color hair. She's always been a favorite cousin of mine (don't tell anybody Tiffany!! :-p) Her wedding was absolutely beautiful and had an autumn woods theme. They love nature and the outdoors and it was a small, intimate wedding in the mountains of NC. It was such a beautiful weekend and I felt so honored to be there and be a part of their special day.
Tiffany, if I could tell you anything about marriage, is that it's a journey. And as fellow hikers, you know the ups and downs of a good day on the trails! There are awesome days and rough days and you work through them all. It's a true gift to wake up to your best friend everyday and I know you and Deron have a great future ahead of you! I can't wait to see where life takes you and to see the wonderful journey you have ahead of you!
Dad's Brand New Shiny Heart
My Dad has been given one of the greatest gifts in the world. The gift of time. The gift of a new heart. There have been such crazy, yet glorious mixed emotions during this time! Sadness for the family who lost a son or daughter, yet absolute thankfulness for their donation of organs. Such a gift. Such a gift. And so much happiness for my Dad. So thankful that he has an positive, hopeful future in front of him and I'm so happy we can be there along the way.
This surgery and hospital visit was so much easier than his heart attack last year. He was talking just about 15 hours after surgery. It was amazing to witness. Here he was with a brand new heart, with major surgery behind him and he was already talking, sitting up, and eventually walking the floors of the hospital. As a matter of fact, he went home yesterday, less than two weeks after his surgery!
He still has a long medical journey ahead of him... but it will be a very positive one! I hope one day we can somehow connect with the family of the person who donated their heart. I hope I can tell them what an incredible gift they have given us and how thankful we are.
Thank you for the precious gift of time with my Father.