I'm Not Ready

Spring Break will be a year since my Maw Maw Ruth left this world. I knew that it would be hard on my Paw Paw B because he would be left alone in a house full of her memories. I worried that his health would decline quickly and his life would slowly diminish. Over the past year I've watched from afar as he has slowly declined in health. His kidneys are tested frequently, the circulation in his legs, his mobility has decreased, and things have progressed much quicker than I was prepared to witness. Last week, he fell and was put in the hospital. He has remained there for a week and hasn't shown much improvement. Today, he is being released if hospice care can be arranged for him at home. He has already told my mom and dad that he is ready to go and he wants to do that at home. I'm not ready though. When you live far away from those you love, your time is limited to visits and phone calls. I talked to him today for a few minutes and I heard the tiredness in his voice. I made sure that I told him I loved him and that I am coming to visit at Spring Break. Paw Paw will forever be the master gardener of the family, raising beautiful Celebrity tomatoes. Growing up the garden was a huge part of our summers. There were years when we couldn't eat the bounty fast enough - especially the year of corn. We spent hours shucking corn, shaving the kernels, putting it in the freezer. Green beans were always a speciality - the purple hulled kind. And through the years, I've never been able to find a replacement for those tomatoes. Even when I've grown the same kind. There was something about Paw Paw's tomatoes. He kept us stocked with fresh fish growing up and loved homemade ice cream. There were many spring and summer days spent under the shade of the carport in the porch swing. He would sit in the swing and sing "Swing Low" to us when we were little. I didn't hear him sing other than that. I've always been fascinated by his service in WWII, but I don't know all of his story. I know that he served in the Red Arrow division - one that had special honors for their service in the Pacific. He was the recipient of a Bronze Star and was a part of the Occupation forces in Japan. I'm not ready to say goodbye to him yet. I'm not ready to walk into the house without him sitting in the recliner reading the newspaper and watching Lawerence Welk. I'm not ready to live in a world without him as a part of it.