On August 7, 2009, one of the most influential men in my life passed away. I remember spending summers with him and all the love he shared with my sister and me. He called me Rosie and loved me very much. And now he's with Jesus. And I'm okay with that, although even thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. He was my grandma's life partner, married 57 years and possible the sweetest man alive (although he did have his moments). I miss him terribly and am blessed to have had him as my PapPap for 31 years of my life.
His death called for an impromptu trip to PA. I traveled alone and joined my mom and her family. In spite of the reason for gathering together, the visit was one of sharing memories and making new ones. During this visit, I was able to meet my Aunt Teresa (Uncle Paul's wife), spend time with my aunt, uncles, and cousins, and visit with relatives I haven't seen (or remembered) in 21 years.
I also got to play with my new camera and capture some of these moments on film. There was laughter and tears and even moments of rage, all part of the grieving process, which we will be going through for several months.
The service was beautiful. Heather and I sang Great is Thy Faithfulness in beautiful harmony. The congregation sang Amazing Grace and shared stories of PapPap from his servant heart to his crazy driving to the summers Heather and I spent in PA learning to roller skate to organ music. Eddie sang I Can Only Imagine and the service ended with Because He Lives. I completely lost it during Amazing Grace and Because He Lives. I've lost it several other times and will continue to do so as I mourn the loss of this special man.
He was laid to rest at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Bridgeville, PA on Thursday at a small service I was unable to attend. He received a military burial and the flag given to Grandma was placed in a beautiful frame along with the medals he received while serving.