Today is the two year anniversary of my Papa's death. He died of pancreatic cancer. His cancer wasn't too prolonged and he died at home instead of in a hospital. He never got to meet Maddie. I was pregnant when he died I just didn't know it yet. There are two things about his death that will forever be burned into my memory. The first thing being his last Christmas with us. I remember when my grandparents were at our house (it was probably a few days before Christmas) he was siting in our big chair and I was on the couch beside him. He looked at me and said in his drawn out southern voice "Monica you know I have cancer." "Yes Papa I know." "Now I don't have very long to live." "Don't say that Papa everything will be fine." As you can see I wasn't sure how to respond to that. It threw me off guard! Then at Christmas. I think it was Christmas Day because they probably left right after Christmas to go back home. We were saying our goodbyes and Papa said goodbye to me for good. He gave me a big hug and said "Now Monica you take care of yourself. Go to school and do something with your life. If not for anyone else do it for me." Wow! He had never said anything like that to me before. When I was telling my family about the conversations he had with me I found out that he hadn't brought up how he had cancer or said anything like what he said on Christmas to anyone else except for me. They saud it was probably because he knew that it was going to be the last time he ever would ever see me again. And it was. My aunt and uncle and cousin went up to visit on his birthday. And my mom, stepdad and the kids were there when he died (they were only there to visit but they ended up staying up there as my grandpa got worse). The day he died my cousin and aunt were driving up there because he wasn't doing well. I was working at Olive Garden down in South Florida. My cousin had been calling me for the past few days letting me know that he wasn't doing good at all. Then she called me while at work and I saw that I had a voicemail from her and I knew he had passed. So I left work and arrangements were made for me to fly to Tampa and then drive up to North Carolina with my uncle and my cousins husband. There were a lot of family and friends that went to his wake and funeral. The funeral home was packed with people saying there goodbyes and giving their love and support. But the second thing that will be burned in my memory forever is the viewing that was just for the immediate family before everybody else arrived. I haven't had many people close to me die. Actually my grandpa is the first death that I have experienced like this. The funeral director had me, my mom, my grandma, my aunt and my cousin walk in the room first. This being my first experience with anything like this I didn't know what to expect. As soon as we walked in the room and saw him we all started crying. I remember my aunt breaking down crying daddy daddy. We all hugged each other and when my grandma gave me a hug she was crying and told me that he loved me very much and always worried about me and just wanted the best for me. After the viewing we went to the church for the funeral service. It was the same church where they had their 50th wedding anniversary celebration. The pastor said a few words and read from the Bible. One of the verses he read was the one that Josh had learned and he wanted to call Papa and read him the verse because he knew he was sick and he wanted to make him feel better. After the service they had our family walk out of the church first. I just remember trying to walk quickly because I really didn't want anyone to look at me while I was crying. Even though I know it's okay for people to see my cry. While they were putting his coffin in the hirsch so we could go to his burial site I remember my cousin breaking down. After the pastor was done saying a few words at the burial site and we walked out from the under the tent I remember my mom breaking down. The only other funeral I had been to was my great-grandmothers. And I remember them lowering her coffin into the ground and the immediate family put roses on top of the coffin and said there last goodbyes as it was being lowered. But they didn't do it for him. My mom said that some people don't think it's appropriate for the family to watch their loved one being lowered into the ground. My grandpa was buried with a home made bird caller he used when he went hunting, a trucker hat that had me and my cousins faces on it that was made for him when we were younger and a cookie monster stuffed animal that the kids gave him in hopes that it would make him feel better.
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