With Hope

LOVE him!
It was a week ago today that I stood emotionally, holding onto my grandfather's right hand as he passed. This journey for my sweet, incredible, huge blessing of a papa was long and tiresome. It began back in November when we got the horrifying call from our mama that he was being rushed to the hospital with bloody emesis. The nurse, in my sister and I, caused us both to begin reviewing differentials in our heads--cancer (which we did not mention to family right away), bleeding ulcer, or simple little GI bug. He got an endoscopic GI (gastrointestinal) scope within 2 days of being in the hospital and the GI doctor came out to shockingly tell our family that it was probably cancer. This was devastating news as his now 80 year old body we knew would have a hard time fighting off an esophageal cancer and we all began to grieve as a family. In the process of throwing up he aspirated some of the fluid into his lungs that had caused a pneumonia which ended up requiring him to be intubated for quite some time, 14 days to be exact. Several days later the pathology came back on the sample he had gotten during the scope. Benign, normal cells?! Wait, what we all thought it was cancer. So the doctor went back in and scoped again and the now new diagnosis of bleeding esophageal ulcer was healed, almost completely gone. So we rejoiced and praised the Lord for healing!! They began to wean my papa off the ventilator and Propofol, a medicine that kept him sedated (asleep) so he would not fight the intubation. Due to my papa's Parkinson's disease and age it doesn't take much medication to get the result you need. So instead of the few hours it should take for most people to wake up it took him several days. Needless to say it was a long few months in the hospital as he slowly recovered and he finally got to go home to rehab in San Antonio close to my cousins and Uncle Steve and Aunt Jenifer.  Let me just interject for a second and let you know that my incredible mama was next to her husband of 55 years side EVERY step of the journey. She did not leave his bedside unless one of us was there to take her place and it would only be for a short while so she could run home to shower or pay bills, etc. So my papa slowly recovered and finally after 7 weeks of nothing by mouth he had his first sip of sprite and bites of food. It was a slow recovery and he did not like all his physical therapy and occupational therapy but he did it reluctantly and finally got to go home. The place he had wanted to be for so long.

My family had a welcome home party for him and see picture below went out shopping for just the right mattress for him. I could not be here for this day as I was working but oh was he happy:) He did well at home for about 10 days and one night fell. Let's just say he was so tough and strong, he walked and helped put himself in the car all with a broken hip. Talking to my grandmother the morning after he fell she was tearful and we all felt like we just kept taking 1 step forward then 2 steps back. He ended up having surgery several days later and did very well. During his hospital stay though he had another one of his choking episodes which ended him up in the ICU. His Parkinsons through the stress of all the surgeries and hospitalizations began to worsen. With Parkinsons some individuals begin to have difficulty swallowing which was the case for my papa. I get the phone call Monday morning while at work from my uncle Steve that we need to find my papa a better hospital to go to in case they need to redo his tracheostomy.
Sorry this is somewhat of a shortened condensed version of the process and hospital progress my papa had but if I put every detail we could be here all day. So I began to panic, the stress is on me, I have to get him to a better place, a better hospital. So I do what I do best, I call Dennis and am trying to find the best doctors and place for him to go. Dennis' boss says Dr. Hughes is the best pulmonologist and he works at Plano Presby-the hospital I worked at for 5 years and the hospital Chaille has worked at and so has Dennis for years and we all knew countless individuals. Everyone I talked to suggested Dr. Hughes and I knew Dr. Rohn the ENT at Plano and felt assured he would get amazing care there and it felt like home. When I called Chaille she was so calm and said lets just pray for the right doctors, the right place and the right timing. And man was God faithful to answer. Let's just say after calling around my papa was transferred to Plano within 24 hours. Coincidence...absolutely not!! God as we look back on this process had a hand in EVERYTHING. It was the sweetest, most priceless week that I got to spend with my family, mama, and papa. God brought him here and prepared us that where he went at this point might be where he passes. My papa seemed to make progress and was doing quite well on Thursday but Saturday morning when I stopped by on my way to work he had another choking episode, this time I got to witness it and it was noted that he did such episode while we were discussing putting a trach back in. I know that he was telling us that day that that was not what he wanted but that he was ready. We had a family gathering that night and had to make the toughest decision we have ever had to make. We had to choose to be selfless and give my grandfather over to our Heavenly Father who made him and was ready for him to come home. So Sunday we gathered around my papa's bedside as we knew his hours were coming closer to an end and each got to tell him how much we loved him and thanked him for all he did. As my papa took his last breaths he had 8 of his 11 grandchildren, all 3 children and his wife of 55 years at his bedside singing "Amazing Grace." It was the most beautiful, amazing thing I have ever been a part of and that night I was blessed and honored to be a part of my family. My papa was honored that night in a way that I know he was blessed and we sang to him as our Heavenly Father was wrapping his arms around him and saying "Welcome home, my good and faithful son."  I knew in my life that the day would come that I would lose a grandparent and I knew it was going to be difficult and I couldn't imagine the pain but I could never have been prepared for the feelings I have had over the last week. I have mourned then rejoiced, cried then smiled, sobbed then laughed at the memories I have of my sweet papa.  On Thursday at his funeral we were able to grieve with hope and rejoice that he is HOME, in a perfect body, praising and rejoicing with our Savior. I have been blessed with 4 incredible grandparents that have taught me well and have shown me the value of family. I am honored and blessed the be a part of both the Crosby and Dowling families.

Just a little side story, my sweet niece Noelle, Chaille's daughter after being told that we were going to go talk to the doctors about Papa and what we needed to do looked at Chaille and said "Why do you need to have a meeting when God already knows what is going to happen to grandpa." Oh to get back to that child like faith, I want that so bad. But it is so true, for God knows the number of our days.

My papa was the most precious, sweet, loving, most hilarious papa in the world, these pictures to follow are only a glimpse of the joy, love, and laughter he brought to our family. 
Oh how I love this one!! Probably my favorite ever!

At Heather and Sasha's wedding-with his only grandsons out of 11 grandchildren:)
Classic...this is the typical look:) have  I said yet, what an incredible sense of humor he had

Dancing with Beth!! Oh how he loved to dance

With Heather at her wedding

Holding sweet Holt
Flag football

Love Papa's arm here--we have taken a picture like this every Thanksgiving since I can remember!

San Antonio Trolley-they took us all to San Antonio every year after Christmas

Some of his girls:) We have taken pictures like this since we were little

On the River Walk

Sneaking sweets;)

What a beautiful example of a loving marriage!

laughing..what he did best...or I should say make us laugh!

An oldie:)

And though I miss him dearly and will everyday, I can rejoice and grieve With Hope!
My grandma read the book by Steven Curtis Chapman while at the hospital and found these lyrics that are so perfect and fitting! God is SO good!

With Hope-Steven Curtis Chapman

This is not at all how
we thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but ...

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
(There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father's smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and ...

We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so ...

So we can cry with hope
And say goodbye with hope

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

And left us with the memories of your smile

And nothing we can say

1 comment

  1. I love your post Steph! Thank you for sharing about your sweet Papa, hope you are doing well, my prayers are with you and your family.