Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Unplanned and Unexpected

We've been MIA for an entire week. And what a week it has been. James' first Christmas turned out completely differently than we expected. There were fantastic things to happen and devastating things to happen and we are left reeling from it all.

On Wednesday afternoon we packed up our car (with all of the necessary and unnecessary baby accoutrement) and went to Tifton. We had planned to leave on Thursday morning, the morning of Christmas Eve, but the annual Girls' Christmas Party at the Bowers' house was planned mid-week. (As a sidenote that you'll understand later, this party has never, in my memory, been on a Wednesday night. It is typically on a Friday or Saturday night before Christmas. However, Christmas being on a wacky day this year, the Bowers planned it mid-week. We are so grateful.)

Eddie and I arrived in Tifton about 6:40 and I stopped in to drop off the boys at the Fresh's house (and eat a few cheese straws) before leaving to go to the Bowers'. I know that I left at 6:53 because I thought to myself that I was going to be late and I'm typically one of the first girls there.

The party was so much fun! The food was great and the company was just fantastic. We played the White Elephant Christmas game and I came away with a cookbook from Mary Beth. There were six of us there this year and most of the girls that come I only see at this party. It's a blessing in so many ways and was an excellent relief for an overly-tired mama this year.

I left around 9:45 (I think) because I knew a little boy who was coming up on 3 hours since his last meal, and he is NOT shy when it comes to telling everyone around him that he is hungry!

While I was gone, Mrs. Bobby's brother - Jimmy - arrived from a long trip from Conway, South Carolina. He made it very clear to everyone that his only reason for making the trip was to meet James. (Our James is the fourth in a long line. Eddie's great-granddaddy, granddaddy, and uncle are all the James-es that our boy was named for. Jimmy's son, Phillip, is the only one who skipped a generation of the name.) He arrived about 20 minutes after I left to go to my party and they enjoyed a visit while I was gone. (Mr. Tommy has pictures that I can't wait to get my hands on.)

***I know this is getting long, bear with me...***

We spent the night at my mama's house on Christmas Eve-Eve and woke up the next morning with several things on our agenda. We needed to go back to Eddie's parents to visit with Jimmy, Eddie had some errands to run (I think? It's all running together...), and James had a belated birthday gift that he needed to take to Charlie Bargeron. We had to do all of this before heading to the 4:30 Christmas Eve service at the church.

We arrived at church at 4:00 and dropped The Boy off in the nursery. After church began, Lance (Anna's bf who was on-call for the cath lab at the hospital) got a page and had to run out to make a phone call. He returned after about 5 minutes. In the meantime, Eddie had gotten a phone call to Eddie. She knew that we were at church, so it struck us as very odd. Then he got a text from her that said "Emergency! Call me!" He jumped up and ran out. He returned and got Lance and myself and the three of us ran out. (To add humor to a very humor-less situation, we were NOT in the back of the church. The preacher called the Fresh's house later to find out if everything was ok. We were that distracting.)

Uncle Jimmy hadn't felt well all afternoon and had decided a trip to the ER was in order, just so that he could be reassured that everything was ok. I'm going to leave out the details because I know that re-living the story time and again is extremely hard on Eddie's family. After being checked out and sent home, Mrs. Bobby took him back to the ER after he passed out in her car. The doctors decided there was nothing that they could do for him and he passed away of what we assume was a pulmonary embolism. Devastation doesn't cover exactly how everyone felt.

The next few days passed us in a blur. We opened gifts at my parents' house and Eddie's parents' house. I honestly cannot remember all of it, as we all felt like we were in a fog. I can't remember who gave me what and I can't remember people's reactions to what we gave them. It's all a blur.

We went home on Friday evening to unpack, wash clothes, and repack.

Saturday morning we headed for Atlanta to my Dad's house. In another blur, we opened gifts. I felt like this added some relief for us because we weren't constantly reminded of what had happened, but I know that Eddie just wanted to be with his family instead of mine. We went to the Smith family party Saturday night and spent the night at Dad's.

On Sunday morning after breakfast we packed up again and made the six-hour drive to Conway, South Carolina where both of Eddie's parents are from. We were blessed to introduce James to his cousins, Phillip and Amelia, and his Aunt Melly, but hated the reason we were unexpectedly gathered together.

We spent Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday with the Rogers/Stalvey clan in South Carolina and I just need to pause for a minute to tell you how proud I am of that little 2-month-old that we hauled all over creation. He cried when he was tired and when he was hungry, but was a little ham for the rest of the trip. Having to ride in his carseat for six hours? Piece of cake. In fact, we had to wake him up mid-trip both ways in order to change and feed him. Being passed around to about 1,000 people over the course of a week? So what! He didn't mind it a bit! We actually took him with us to the funeral home for visitation and he was an angel until he decided it was supper time.

Our Christmas this year was certainly filled with unexpected events. Looking back, so many things fell into place that allowed for Jimmy to meet James and for Jimmy to have a visit with his family. The Bowers' party that isn't usually in the middle of the week allowed the boys to have an extra few hours with him on Wednesday night instead of squeezing it into our rushed plans on Thursday. Jimmy didn't feel well on Thursday and spent a lot of the day sleeping. The night before was a blessing for Eddie and James!

We are so thankful that James was able to meet his great uncle. I was fortunate enough to have met him twice (prior to this trip, he and Amelia came down for our wedding). It certainly wasn't enough time. We've had to learn the hard way this year how quickly things change. Hug your family members and enjoy every second. Things can change in the blink of an eye.

1 comment:

pcb said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss; that's hard. God is good, though...only He could have orchestrated things for those guys to have that time together on the 23rd.