Well, if you had told me the photos below were the last we would ever take with my Papa I would call you crazy! I didn't see his death coming. My mom, Kae, and I went to Charleston to visit with him when he was in the hospital and things were quite confusing. They spoke of kidney problems, infection, etc.. but they also spoke things about rehabilitation centers for him to gain strength back when he was released from the hospital so I didn't think much of it. My bosses were gracious enough to let me work from Charleston and I was so glad Kae and I went for that week because she brought him so much joy! The date is on the tape on his hand in the picture of him and Kae... 8/10/09, the last pictures we would take with him. This particular time I'm so glad I'm that annoying person bugging people for pictures when they don't feel like taking them.
After that week Kae and I returned home. I needed to get back to work and there wasn't much I could do being pregnant, tired, and entertaining an almost 3 year old in a tiny hospital room. And he had my mom, uncle, his sisters, his parents, etc.. And besides I figured I would get a call letting me know he had been released and we could go visit him at the rehab center. I did get a call, but not one I was expecting. It was around 8:30pm on August 26th... Brian was upstairs putting Kaelyn to bed and my dad called. I answered and he immediately asked for Brian and I asked what was wrong. He said he needed to talk to Brian and I knew it must be something bad. I told him Brian was upstairs and he finally told me that the Dr.'s said Papa most likely wouldn't make it through the night. I started crying and running up the stairs. Brian took the phone and Dad told him we needed to come now. I've never packed up our family so fast. On the ride there I was thinking of how we would walk in, hug him, and tell him how much we love him. But then I found out he had not been conscious. :( My heart sank as it became so real and I balled just thinking of him not getting to meet our precious Kalli, due in December. And this is how she got her middle name, Dawn. My Papa's name was Donald Graham and everyone called him Don. It was Brian's suggestion as I was crying on the ride to the hospital that night, just trying to comfort me, but who knew, we both loved the Southern little ring to Kalli Dawn and the whole meaning...Kalli - most beautiful Dawn - sunrise, so she would be "most beautiful sunrise" It brought a glorious image to my mind.
We got there around 11:30 I think. He could only have a few visitors at a time and my parents just weren't sure if I could handle seeing him the way he was. He's my Papa, the one who spoiled me rotten as a little girl..threw birthday parties for me and invited kids I didn't even know, always had the grill fired up cooking the best dinners when we came up to visit, sent me the coolest dolls from the Disney store for Christmas, took me to Lord of the Dance, came down to FL to celebrate my high school graduation, paid for the harpist I HAD to have on my wedding day, and was there for the birth of my first child, his first great grandchild. And he would look nothing like that man, not even like the man I had seen just a couple of weeks or so earlier in the hospital. Not to mention I was 5 months pregnant and on an emotional roller coaster! But they knew I wanted to see him, so they took me back. It was awful, sooo awful. And nurses hurried around pumping more blood in him as we stood there and cried. I was in such shock. Everything just went bad so fast. They thought they had found the source of some of the infection in his stomach and decided to take him into surgery at the last minute. It wasn't planned where we could all be there in case something were to go wrong. His organs just could not handle it... It was a mess inside and when they touched anything, it bled. My parents had just seen him before this surgery and he was FINE, talking to them and in a good mood. And this is what came just a couple hours later. I kept telling myself God could still perform a miracle... they happen everyday. I stood there and talked to him and he did squeeze my hand... I needed that. I just hated not being able to see him before this surgery and wanted him to know I was there. The nurses said he could still hear us and that proved he could.
The next day, August 27th, Papa passed. And even sometimes now, I can't believe it. And by the way, I still believe God performs miracles, and could He have saved him if that was the plan? Yes He could. Even though my human mind doesn't understand why, it was his time to go home. I pray he knew how much we all loved him. "Press On" as he used to say.