Wednesday, November 16, 2011

From the Wagon to the Water

I mentioned that last week, Chad went to Texas to visit his grandmother, who is known to us as Yang Yang. We knew she was close to the end of her life and while he was there, she actually went to be with the Lord. She was a wonderful woman, who lived a very full life, which leads us to Chad's first guest appearance on the blog. Max and Jack are so young, that they won't remember this dear woman, so Chad put his memories into writing to share it with them:

My last grandparent went to be with Lord on November 2nd.  We called her Yang Yang, and she was my mom's mom.  She was born in Pittsburgh, PA in a wealthy family. However, after the great depression, she lived in the typical middle class family.  I always thought she carried herself like royalty.  She was a career woman, before it was popular.  She spent almost 40 years in the insurance business, with the same company.  She was the great woman behind a good man for over 50 years.  

I have a lot of fond memories of Yang Yang and Pap Pap.  That is what we called my mom's parents.  During the summer time, from about age 5 through age 14, I spent just as much time with them as I did my parents.  They had a lake house on Lake LBJ, in Granite Shoals, TX.  It was paradise for me and my two brothers. We would usually leave around 5 o'clock, after they got off work and stay the weekend.  It was about 90 miles from their house.  We would pile in the green station wagon and head up, listening to big band music and hopping all around the back of the wagon.  Yang Yang loved to sing to us.  When we arrived at the lake, we would run straight from the wagon to the water.  Half of the time I was fishing, and the other half swimming.  I usually  spent the mornings with Pap Pap.  He would always get up at the crack of dawn and make his eggs and potatoes with coffee.  We would go rabbit hunting, take a ride on the scooter, or just go for a nice walk over the granite hills and through all the blue bonnets. 
I remember the house was always so welcoming when we ran in from the lake.  Food was always ready, or it was delivered to the dock in the form of a pyramid of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut in fourths. She made the best spaghetti on the nights when my friends would come over and play cards with us.  She was very competitive and she loved to play cards!  She taught me and my brothers how to swim, because she was amazing in the water. 

Well, as time passed, the lake house got sold.  Yang Yang and Pap Pap continued to travel a lot, and we got very involved with high school sports.  They always showed up at my games to cheer me on, through high school and college.  After I graduated from TLU, I moved to Orlando, FL.  They came out one time and visited. I was working at WDW, so I took them to the Magic Kingdom and we went to dinner at some really cool places.  Over the years, I would see them about twice a year.  Pap Pap went to be with the Lord in 1998, and Yang Yang moved up by my parents in the Texas hill country.  It was great to have her so close when we went to visit.  She would always call me to talk about the Spurs. I remember when they won their third championship, Lauren and I were on our way to Los Angeles, and I couldn't wait to land to talk to her about it.  

We try to always make it back home to spend Christmas with my family. My mom called and said I might want to come home early because Yang Yang was not doing well.  Lauren started looking at flights for us to go out in a couple of weeks, Gabe just returned from a TX about a month earlier, so he was going to stay home.  After talking to my mom several times, we decided that I should get there asap.  Lauren and I thought it would be best if I got there and talk to her, then she could bring the family for the funeral.  I arrived in TX on Tuesday November 1st and was at Yang Yang's bedside at 12:25 pm.  I immediately told her how much I loved her.  We starred at each other, smiles on our faces.  I ran my hand through her hair as she asked me about Lauren and the boys. We sang a song that she used to sing to us as we were driving to the lake.  After about 2 hours of sitting by her side and having visitors in and out, she needed a nap.  We went to lunch and she closed her eyes for the last time. Me, my mom, dad, brother, and sister in law we standing by her side and holding her hands when she took her last breath. I learned more about her in the last two hours of her life than I did the previous 25 years.

One of my favorite songs is "Blessed be Your Name". It talks about the ups and downs of life, and how the Lord is steady.  No matter what happens, Blessed be the Lord.  It says that every blessing poured our, should be turned back in praise.  So, I want to praise the Lord for Yang Yang's life.  She was a blessing poured out on everyone she encountered.  Thank you for her dignity. Thank you for her talents.  Thank you for her generosity.  Thank you for her strength.  The way she lived her life was an inspiration to me and my family.  Thank you!

In Honor of Ruth Mae Lehner... December 19, 1920 to November 2, 201, We love you and are so grateful for your life!

(This picture was taken at her 90th birthday party last year- can you see where my boys get their beautiful blue eyes? :) )

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