And So It Ends

Posted on July 12, 2017 by under Uncategorized

I have written this in my head at least a thousand times over the last month, a snippet here, a paragraph there, but I never got very far because, if I ever finished it, then it would be real.  If I didn’t there was always hope something might change.

But come Saturday morning, July 15, 2017, my son and daughter-in-law and their three children—my grandchildren—will pack up the bulk of their worldly possessions and head to Memphis where, after a literal lifetime in Savannah, they will take up residence.  My daughter-in-law will continue teaching high school English.  My son will exit funeral service and enter insurance, and my grandchildren will enroll in a new school and a new day care—and live two and a half hours away instead of two and a half minutes.

For 35 years, with the exception of college, Joseph has been within minutes of me.  For the last eight, my grandson Wilson has been equally close . . . as has Anderson for six and Cora for two.  That all ends this Saturday.  Suddenly, what never seemed likely is not only possible but absolutely, undeniably real.  I always tried to teach Joseph to be his own person, to make his own decisions, but now that he’s chosen to practice what I preached I find myself wishing I hadn’t done such a good job.

Before I continue being all pitiful, there are a few things I want to clarify.  I am eternally grateful they will only be in Memphis and not Alaska or Australia or some other too far for me to drive in a day destination.  I am eternally grateful they are all alive and well and that this isn’t good-bye but see you later.  But I’m spoiled.  I’m accustomed to gathering at La Potosina every Sunday night and then taking the boys home, shooting basketball with Wilson and playing Hide-and-Seek in the house or a rousing round of Trampoline Tripping where I sit in the middle and the boys run in circles while I try to catch them and tickle them mercilessly.  I love the surprise visits after school when the boys beg to use the paper cutter and typewriter or roll down the upstairs ramp and play in the selection room (and no, they aren’t allowed in the caskets)–or when I’m called upon to fetch Cora from day care and her face lights up when I walk through the door.  But this has been a week of lasts—the last Sunday night to take them home, the last game of Hide and Seek where Cora and I secret ourselves in the closet under the stairs and Anderson runs around like a little maniac asking everyone if they’ve seen Mona.  Friday will be Joseph’s last day at work.  After a dozen plus years he will exit the building with no plans to return as a Shackelford employee.

The community has definitely been abuzz with speculation as to why they are leaving.  Some say we’ve sold the businesses (I asked to whom and how much did we get . . . and why am I still here?).  Some say we are planning to sell the businesses so he got while the gettin’ was good (an equally false assumption on the part of the general public).  How ‘bout working with your family . . . ALL of your family . . . is tough even on good days?  How ‘bout maybe Joseph wants to be Joseph instead of my father reincarnated?  How ‘bout there are a whole host of reasons that have nothing to do with an allegedly disappearing job and everything to do with wanting to improve life for yourself and your family while doing it on your own terms?

Life and death will continue as they always have—and we will continue to do what we’ve always done—try to care for the families who come through our doors to the best of our abilities.  I just won’t be seeing the flashes of my father as frequently as I once did.  We won’t have Joseph’s deft hand in the prep room or his reassuring ways with the families, but we have other equally qualified, equally good, compassionate folks who work with us.  They just aren’t my son.

I’m told I will be the designated munchkin chauffeur this Saturday, so in just a few days I’ll be loading up the grandkids and carrying them two and a half hours away—and permanently leaving them there.  In just a few weeks the house to which I’ve routinely traveled to serve as babysitter and playmate will be occupied by strangers.  The world will not end and life will go on.  It’s just going to be very, very different.  And I’m just selfish enough that I don’t like that kind of different . . . especially when it turns my world upside down.

15 Responses to And So It Ends

  1. Sandy Rives says:

    My hearts breaks for you, I don’t know you personally, but I am a Grandmother and being seperated from the grand children is hard, even tho its only to Memphis. It will take time to adjust, just lean on God. And hold them in your heart while you are apart. God Bless You

  2. Marjorie O. Casteel says:

    Lisa, I always enjoy and feel your writings! I’m sure you will find the time and need to be in Memphis often! That’s just the way of loving grandparents!
    Praying Joseph and his family find their place to continue the Shackelford gift of consistingly contributing to the needs of their community.
    May God bless you all.

  3. Julie Gail Adkisson says:

    Well Lisa you will find your car going and coming to Memphis as much as you can! Sometime I think I can get in mine, point it to Cookeville and it can drive itself… I fell for you my friend.

  4. Paige says:

    Thanks for sharing your heart! You raised a special son. I know how much those three blessings will light up each time they get to see you and Joe. Prayers for all to be healthy, safe and happy.

  5. Roena Gray says:

    I feel your pain. This happened to me a few years back. My grands are a day trip away now and trips to visit are few. Miss them so much especially sharing their life adventures. Like you, I raised them to have wings, but it is difficult to handle. Thankful yours are only a few hours away. It was a very good decision for my daughter’s family as I am sure it is a well thought out and prayed about one for yours. May God richly bless you and yours.

  6. Beverly Brown Lozano says:

    I’m happy for them but sad for you and the Shackelford Community…they will be sorely missed. Praying for you all. ❤

  7. Jimmy Weatherington says:

    Very well written testimony of your true inner feelings. Grand-parenting is very special, and you will find a way to handle it just fine. The successful business will move forward. But you have captured the most important part of your life with those beautiful words concerning the FAMILY!

  8. Nancy Roser says:

    Lisa, sad for you and sad for me. Joseph told me he would do my face lift when my time on earth was gone.!! Now who will do it?! He is so much like Bob and has his grandad’s touch. He will be missed and maybe someday he just might come back !!! The best to their family ❤️

  9. Vicki Madsen says:

    Oh, sweetie! I can certainly feel your pain. I was the one doing the leaving when I came to Savannah from Fort Worth TX. My grands are that far away. You will still spend quality time with yours, just in a different environment. My thoughts and prayers are with you!

  10. Nancy Gant says:

    Well….now you will have to make many more trips to Memphis! And your babies will be so thrilled to see you when you get there! ♡♡♡

  11. Sheila coc says:

    I know the feeling I have 2 of mine are in nashville. Now when u visit they hug u tighter. Praying it goes easier for you and Joe.

  12. Lisa and Joe, my heart goes out to you both. This has got to be a sad time for your whole family. Really hate to see your son go, he was an asset to your family. Very compassionate, and caring, I have come in contact with him through a couple of tragedies in our family. Over the years, you will realize that 2 1/2 hour drive gets shorter and shorter. God Bless you and your family!

  13. Betty Wilson says:

    Life’s changes are so hard sometimes with our world as we know flipped upside down and out of our control. I will pray for you my friend that God will comfort you with the distance between your son and grandkids and daughter in law. I know it was not a easy decision on his part so I pray for them as well. Sometimes our children are led down paths away from us as parents. Joseph has his wings and he will fly…love you always

  14. Kathy Sparks says:

    I will truly miss Joseph. He has always reminded me of your dad. My thoughts and prayers are with Joseph and his family and also for you and yours. I will certainly miss him.

  15. Saundra (Mason) Theisen says:

    Thank you for explaining this to so many people such as myself that had no clue to what was going on when I looked and saw that Natalie was having a yard sale at her house and packing up. No I did not come to any of the conclusions that you said others have suggested here, I live out of state now and have always loved your families. My family, myself and my children have either been a part of your children’s lives through school, band, theater, church or many other activities around Savannah and perplexed to hear that they were moving from there. Change is never fun or easy. Loving our children is never easy at times as well. As parents we want to hang on to them forever and never let them go to follow their own dreams while other children we have to throw them out of the nest sometimes to make them fly on their own, while we hide behind every tree watching out for them as they go. Just think of all of the new adventures you will have, the new shopping adventures, trips to the zoo will be closer (for them). It opens so many more doors for you all to grow! It’s really not that far and it’s just a car drive away and a easy phone call and facetime!

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