You know, this album has actually made me cry quite a few times. Mostly tears of joy as I look back on all the amazing moments and photos of my children. Making this particular spread in my album made me shed a different kind of tear. It hurts, a physical hurt in my chest. Man oh man. What’s so painful was finishing this spread and feeling like it was “over”. Like I’m done making this, he’s out of our lives. And also this anxiety that there’s not enough photos, there’s not enough anything, there wasn’t enough time.
Just two days before his heart attack, he randomly came over to our house an hour before the kids got home, and we chatted and chatted about such good stuff (we always did..he and I). Then we surprised the kids on the walk home and took them to a candy shop. We had coffee and candy and laughed and laughed. I told him how I wanted to take more photos of the kids with family members. I was bummed because my phone was dead, and I couldn’t take photos of this outing. He gave me his phone to take the pics, then texted them to me. The two pics in the middle there, and the ones on the bottom left are the last day me and the kids saw him. The last day we will ever see him. So incredibly thankful that it happened that way. Gah. Some would call that God or an insane coincidence or a blessing, but either way it makes me happy and immensely sad all at the same time.
I’m sure some of you are wondering by now since I’ve mentioned this loss many times on the internet. We lost David’s father to complications from a sudden massive heart attack. He was only 59. Jim was actually saved by a nurse while at jury duty, rushed to the hospital, did ok for 2 days, then ultimately passed away from his overtaxed heart. Jim was not just a father in law, no way. He was absolutely a real father to me and was the most involved in-law and grandparent you could ever imagine. He and my daughter were very very close, a pair. She spent the night with him almost every weekend. Jim was the only one we trusted to check her blood sugars throughout the night. I could write pages and pages on his relationship with Ansley, but I won’t post it here. I have typed so much that’s in my head into a document and will tuck it away in that envelope you see below when I’m done. Ansley has even made her own document. Writing down every memory she has of him, every piece of advice, every joke or silly thing she can remember. She even scanned his business cards in…bless her broken heart.
Here’s one little thing I wrote on Facebook…
“Ever since David and I were married in March of 2003, when Jim would call he’d say “hey Manda Townsend, this is Jim Townsend.” I’d say, “HEY Jim Townsend!” Every single time. It was sweet, this exchange we had. He was proud to have me as his daughter in law, proud that I now shared his name, and I was too. To say I felt loved and wanted as the new girl in the family is an understatement. 2, 3, 4 years later he was STILL greeting me that way, and I thought to myself….ok, is he ever gonna stop? I’m in the family now! I get it. He called a lot y’all, and when I say “every single time”, I mean it. He never stopped, and I grew to appreciate and love that sweet greeting even more. He wasn’t just trying to be funny, he wanted me to know how much he cared and loved me because that was who he was! Jim’s love was persistent, as all love should be. That is what I can take with me from here on out. When he called 12 days ago, “hey Manda Townsend…this is Jim Townsend”, 11 years after the first time.”
Very few words in this spread. Just as many photos as I could cram in.
Hope you guys have a good weekend. Don’t be too sad for us, we’re gonna be ok! David has been really quiet…I’m not so sure it’s hit him fully yet. Ansley either, but I know we are healing every day. There’s a part of me that knows going through this kind of hurt will only make us stronger, more intentional and loving people. Now, go hug your dads, tell them how much you love them, and take lots and lots of photos! One last thing…to those of you who have lost a father – May peace be with you. I really mean that. Virtual hug to you.