We were informed on December 23rd that Papa Wayne, my Father-in-law, would likely not be with us much longer.
Though we tried to keep our calls to a minimum the next few days (we wanted to call every hour) because the Husband and I knew that as difficult as is was for us here, far away in Minnesota, it was far more difficult for the Husband's Mom and sisters who were in South Dakota, sitting at Papa's bedside, loving and caring for him during his last hours, we hoped when we called there might be good news of improvement in Papa's health and we wanted them to know that we were praying for them and we needed them to tell Papa once again and again that we loved him. He knew that of course, but we can never tell a person too often that they are loved!
We received word Monday, December 26th that Papa Wayne passed away.
The Family packed up and headed for South Dakota.
We spent time with the Husband's family going through old photo albums and telling stories about Papa Wayne, remembering how much he liked to laugh and make others laugh as well.
The Husband and I, weird as it may sound, wanted to just sit in Papa Wayne's large walk-in closet. It's where Papa liked to work. Where he liked to paint and draw. Papa Wayne was an amazing artist! The closet smelled like him. It was a very comforting place to be!
The funeral service was beautiful. My Father-in-law and Mother-in-law had chosen wonderful scripture passages for the service that brought great comfort, reminding us all that Papa Wayne is with our Lord and he is well and rejoicing and praising God!
The Husband's Sister shared stories about Papa Wayne that brought smiles and tears.
And then the honor guard approached the front of the chapel. Their faces somber. Their shoes tapping.
The honor guard folded the American flag with great precision and care. I don't know what it is...the honor guard's presence watching over the grieving...their remaining strong so that those who mourn feel safe to show weakness...the finality carried in the tune of the music, but the playing of Taps pierced our souls and allowed grief and tears to flow freely.
We ended our day with glasses raised in a toast to our beloved Papa Wayne, filled with his beverage of choice...Scotch.
Our hearts ache with missing Papa! Our hearts are full of wonderful memories of Papa! One day we will be with Papa again!