On August 18, my husband called, frantically, asking if I was dressed. I thought someone was coming over. So, I said yes (and of course, I was dressed). He said they were taking his dad to the hospital. The chaplain called. Well, if you know anything about healthcare & hospitals, you know chaplains don't call just to shoot the breeze. They don't call when someone comes in for a broken limb or something minor. They call when something bad has happened.
I frantically got dressed (in more hospital-appropriate clothing), brushed my teeth, & thanked God my hair was long enough for a pony tail. And I was off. When I arrived, I found my husband sitting outside. They wouldn't let anyone back until the entire family was there. That's just about the hardes thing to have to deal with.
I'll spare you the emotional details, but we were all there (minus my sister-in-law) when my very brave & strong mother-in-law forced the chaplain to quit the bullshit & tell us what happened. I think we already knew.
As a nurse who works in a hospital, I often wondered what it felt like for families to leave the hospital after learning of a loved ones death. The hospital I work in happens to be a children's hospital primarily (for the past few years) with women's services. I see families walking around all the time. It may sound gory, but I always wondered if they had just lost someone. I thought how horrible it must be to just walk out of the hospital all alone, to go on your way, to grieve on your own, to not have a nurse or a doctor their to tell you what's going to happen next. How horrible is that. You're on your own. And, your loved one is not walking out those doors with you.
Unfortunately, I learned that day, exactly what it feels like. Now, I realize it must be different for parents. It must be different for people who walked in with the person they are leaving behind. But, I still know what it feels like to walk out without the complete family. It's sad. It's lonely. There's a lot of feeling like...what now. And yet, a million things going through your mind about stuff you have to do.
Later that day, we all met at my in-laws. This is the part where I'm going to get all "I love God & Jesus" on you...so you can quit reading if you don't want to hear it. But, I highly suggest, if you've made it this far, keep reading. This really is the best part of the story.
People were already there. People were bring food. Comforting us. Caring for us. Crying with us. Praying for us. Being there for us. It was simply amazing.
Over the next few days, we all, slowly, realized how God was watching over us. Not just that day or that week. But, forever. Some things had happened in the months prior to make the transition to life without Scottie (that's my awesome father-in-law) a smidge bit easier. And even now, in the weeks after, things are happening that make me KNOW without a shadow of a doubt, God is watching over us. Things are good. That's another thing. I always ALWAYS wondered how people who had gone through a horrible loss could say God is good. How? How could they? But, you know, God is good. God placed people in our lives to make this easier. God placed us where we were in our careers (all of us) to make this easier. It's nearly overwhelming to think of that. I have more faith now than I ever have.
Well, I've told you a lot about how we felt and what we did, but I think I should share a little about Scottie. He was stubborn as I'll get out (and I can totally see this in my husband & daughter, so I have a feeling I'll get to see his spirit live for a very very long time). It was his way or the highway (well, not always, and he usually was right). But, if he said he was going to do something, by golly he was. He was so caring & helpful. While my sister-in-law & I never had to participate in the "man school" of growing up, Scottie let us be girls. He was raising organic, free-range chickens. Now, Liz & I love to eat organic. And we also refused (in a very nice, polite way) to kill the chickens. Scottie never questioned us. He may have given us a hard time, but when it came right down to it, we didn't have to kill any birds. He even killed them humanely (now is not the time to debate humane killing, but it was the most humane way to kill chickens, and these were some stinkin' happy chickens) for me. Scottie was instrumental in making sure our kids knew what it felt like to have fun outside. Just this summer he picked Addison up one morning just to take her to pick peaches. They had dirt piles for the kids to play in.
There really wasn't much Scottie wouldn't do for someone. Just this summer, there are two things that stick out. One time, I took the kids to eat lunch (at a taco truck, so nothing inside). Remember I said we've had over 50 days of 100+ degree temperatures? Yeah, well, it was hot. And my car died. My husband was at work, 30 minutes away. And besides, he wasn't really answering his phone. So, I called Scottie. He answered. Other than to ask where I was, not one single question was asked when I told him what happened. He dropped EVERYTHING he was doing to come jump my car. I still had a few errands I had wanted to run (as it was the Friday before Father's Day & I needed to finish my husband's gift). Scottie offered to follow me to the store to get what I needed. He didn't have to do that. But he did.
Then, there was the time this summer when our washing machine went out. Again, my husband was at work. They were worried about me being home alone with the repair man (now, I really think I could have handled it, but they would have nothing of it). So, Scottie came over & literally WATCHED THE MAN WORK! He stood right there in the laundry room & watched him do his thing. When the repair man was done, Scottie came to me and said he needed money. He was there to protect me (even if I didn't think I needed it). I really appreciated it.
He was a good man. He still is. I'm so proud his spirit will live on in my husband. I'm so proud he taught my husband how to work and be a man. I'm so proud my husband learned everything he could from his dad. I know Greg will pass this on to our children. And for that, I am eternally grateful.