The past few weeks have been very difficult. My husband lost his dad. Before I get into every thing else I want to tell you a little about him. Paul was the first of my husbands family members I met. I got out of the car on a cool January day in 1999 and I was greeted with a warm hug. I told him I liked his house and he smiled a big smile and said. 'Thank you! We're real country around here!'. Emma came along that October and was the first to make him a Pappy. We have many photo's from over the years-birthday parties,Easter egg hunts,a trip to the zoo etc....- that showed he enjoyed this role. Only in the past few years did I realize this is where my sweetheart gets this from. Being a loving husband and amazing daddy is something he learned from his own dad.
So a few weeks ago Tim got that call that call. The one noone wants to get. But at least there was a little time to say goodbye. We packed up in a hurry. Found the cheapest hotel rate we could at a place we were comfortable having the kids at (Thank you Days Inn Carlisle! You guys were so good to us!)and we were on our way in a few hours. We had no clue how long our trip would be. We forgot a lot of things. (Did you know you can buy underwear for 96 cents a pair at Walmart? Neither did I until now!) We spent all of the next day at the hospice. All 6 of us plus my husbands mom and sister. While it was nice family time we all wished it was for different reasons. I made sure to tell Paul what I said above about him teaching Tim to be a good dad and husband. I thanked him for welcoming me to his family, for loving my kids and that I was honored to share his family name. While watching someone at the end of their earthly life is heartbreaking it is also beautiful. To see family come together. To remember someone and have the chance to tell them what they mean to you before they go. It's not something everyone gets to do. I took the little kids back to hotel while by husband stayed by his daddy's bedside all night. The big kids stayed too. I am so proud of them. (Pretty much the whole trip (8 days) my kids were so well behaved. Not that they are bad kids but it was a long week and they didn't let it wear on them much.)
|Brandt Family, Christmas 2010|
Paul passed away on Sunday morning. It was a sunny day with the bluest sky over the mountains that surround that part of Pennsylvania. Tim and his sister Jessica got to work immediately helping their mom make plans for the service. How is it watching my husband be so strong while being so sad makes me love him more than I already did? And my mother in law seemed so beautiful amongst her strength and pain...... Also she included me in on much of the planning for which I'm so grateful for. She told me I'm one of their kids too. (ok, yes I'm crying now)
So while all of this is happening over 3 hours away from home, things were happening here in Pittsburgh. Our church family stepped up like nothing I've ever experienced. One of my good friends talked to my boys teachers and principal to make sure they knew why the boys were gone for so long and to get all of their work together. She called to check on us. So did our pastor. We had a beautiful flower arrangement from our church at the funeral home. We had tons of texts.
We also had flowers from my parents, friends of Tim's and our very good friends the Cross' actually made the drive out there and back in one day to support us. Crazy I know. So much love but that's who my father in law was- a loving man. It's evident from the short time I knew him but also in photos and videos that showed him as a dad over the past 36 years and the love story my in-laws shared. They would have been married 40 years this coming October. My husand made a beautiful tribute video for his dad that you can see HERE.
Being away from home unexpectedly came with a few worries. 6 of us, a hotel room, food,incidentals, gas and tolls. We were not prepared for that. We checked out of the hotel on Friday to be told our room was already paid for on someone else's card. Then we were gifted with another amount by a loving family member and then something that just about covered our tolls exactly. I'm not bragging here. I'm sharing how overwhelmed with love we are. With gratitude. SO MUCH Gratitude! We came home late on Friday night. Our dishes were done,the house was vacuumed, a stack of cards lying on the table and we have had other families bless us with dinner every night since we got home. When one of my dear friends came over yesterday I kind of lost it on her. I was so overwrought with emotion. When she left I literally got down on my knees in the kitchen thanking Jesus for the goodness of others,for our church.(Man,I stinkin' LOVE my church!!) How do we pay this forward? The Brandts are feeling love here you guys. Like pure, selfless love. Even though most of our friends never met Tim's dad they are honoring him by loving on his son and his family. And for that we thank you.