This is hands down the hardest thing I have ever written about. It's so close to my heart that I almost backed out about sharing it several times. Most of my family and friends do not even know about this - those that I did share this with listened as I was a blubbering mess. Some will read this and cry right along with me and others will not get it at all...that's ok. I may be a little all over the place with this as I still can not even think about it without a lump in my throat and blurry vision.
Some of my most precious and favorite memories growing up in involve both sets of my grandparents. I am thankful that for the majority of my life they both lived close. I grew up spending holidays with them, weekend cousin sleepovers at their houses, and they were apart of tons of defining moments in my life. Up until June 4th of this year, I was so beyond blessed to have all four of them still with me and living independently.
My Pawpaw was my hero. Hands down, he was my rock. From as far back as I can remember he made me feel like a princess. He was always just a phone call away - didnt matter the time or the place - if I needed him he was there. He could fix anything from a broken pair of glasses to a messed up car engine, from a overly independent grand daughter, who at times, needed to be reminded shes not invincible to a insecure heart that needed encouraging. He was a big piece of my heart.
When I was five we moved to Pennsylvania. I was overly heartsick for my Mawmaw and Pawpaw. It was so bad that Mawmaw would come stay for a month at a time. I remember then when I would say my nightly prayers - praying that God would let us move back before they died (they were in their 50's then - when your five everyone is old ha). We moved back about two years later and I refused to ever live more than a hour away from them ever again.
After my first miscarriage I started praying that God would allow my child to know them. I wanted my child so badly to know them, to experience life with them, to feel their hugs, to learn from them. By the time I was 30 I knew the chances of me having a child was becoming increasingly slim...I knew that even if I did get pregnant that the chances of my baby being old enough to really remember them were even slimmer. It became a daily prayer that I would just get to see them meet my baby. Its a image I needed for myself. I wanted to witness the first time they laid eyes on him/her, the moment they held him/her. I know some of you may be thinking that my prayers were ridiculous and selfish. I cant disagree with you, they were selfish - it was for my own heart..but i'm sure everyone has someone in their life who just means more to you than you can express...
I never talked to Pawpaw about my miscarriage. He knew about it, and he knew my desire to be a mom, but it wasnt something we ever spoke about.
February 8, 2014 my life was turned upside down. Pawpaw went into the hospital with bronchitis...from there it was one thing after another. My world stopped. Nothing else mattered for the next four months, almost every free moment was spent at his side. I barely slept. I was an emotional wreck...there were several occasions were we were told there was nothing more they could do - his body had gone into septic, but then he would rally and pull through. It was an emotional roller coaster. One day we would be over the moon because he had taken a big step forward...only to be followed by two steps back. It was one of my biggest fears (losing my grandparents) being played out in front of me.
Despite him being in a coma for about a month, we did get the final three months with him. He was awake and fully 100% mentally strong. This man was inspecting airplanes and throwing his grand kids his annual super bowl party just weeks before getting so sick. That was part of what made this so hard - it was so unexpected. Those final months we all spent as much time with him as possible. I cherished the nights that I had him until late at night all to myself. We would laugh and reminisce. I was able to tell him many times just how special he was to me and how much I loved him and he was able to tell me the same. That alone is a gift that I know many do not get when they loose someone, that is something I still thank God for.
The day before Pawpaw went on hospice, I was alone in his room. We had just had a talk about my recent marriage and about how my Mawmaw was holding up. He was tired. He faded for a bit and was very quiet for about 30 minutes. We sat in silence. All of a sudden pawpaw looked at the opposite corner of the room and he really perked up. He had the biggest smile on his face and he started making silly noises like he does when he plays with his great grand kids. I sat there watching his face thinking how precious he was - he kept smiling and saying "hey there pumpkin" for what seemed like several minutes. He finally turned his head towards me and looked me straight in the eye and said "I see your baby". It took my breath away - he continued to hold my stare. I said "Pawpaw, I don't have a baby, do you see Maylee? (one of his great grands). He looked at me like I was a crazy and said "NO, Maylee is Chelsea's baby. I see YOUR baby!" He then turned his gaze back to the corner and continued smiling and talking. I couldn't speak. Finally, he turned to me and said "Why aren't you taking care of her?" All I could mutter was "I...I can't" He then looked back at her and said after a few seconds said "Ohhhh" He then just held my stare like he knew. I finally said, "Pawpaw will you take care of her for me until I can?" he then gave me the most precious smile and said "You bet, you bet..."
We didnt talk much more that night. It was a moment that I think we both understood. I wish now I would of asked more questions and what she looked like. I always knew in my heart my baby was a girl...and he referred to her as a girl.
When I left that night I sat in the parking lot for about an hour sobbing. I couldnt take in all that had just happened. My mind was racing and so was my heart. I was overwhelmed with emotions. I then felt God whisper to my heart "I answered your prayer" It clicked. I had prayed for years that I would get to watch my pawpaw lay eyes on my child for the first time...God DID hear my endless prayers...he let me experience that special moment that night in the hospital room. No, it wasn't the answer I was originally hoping for or expecting, but God gave ME that incredible moment that I will always keep close to my heart. Pawpaw was called home just a couple of days later and there is no doubt in my mind that his great grand daughter was there waiting for him.
For years I had felt like God had over looked me, that my prayers weren't being heard. That night he reminded me just how much he loves me, that he would take a rather silly/selfish prayer of mine and answer it in the final hours. For God to gift me that moment gave me so much healing. He does know the desires of our heart- no matter how big or small....