So much has happened in the last 3 months!  I haven’t really had a chance to write, or even think for that matter, and just wanted to update you all on the times & lives of the Snyder Family.

Tuesday, June 7th, Bob & I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary.  We also shared that date with Debbie’s arrival into heaven.  She passed away about 11:15 pm, with Drew asleep by her side in the chair, holding her hand.  The perfect way to go.  Her service was on Friday and couldn’t have gone any better.  It was amazing.  It was powerful.

Her fourth time to battle cancer – this time a very rare form of aggressive sarcoma that little is known about – she fought hard, and long and really never gave up.  She didn’t leave without a fight, that is for dang sure!  She asked to go into Hospice Care on Wednesday, June 1st.  She hadn’t been able to eat or drink anything for 3 days & needed some relief.  Thursday morning was the last time we saw her awake & spoke with her.  Over the course of the next 6 days, her heart rate was anywhere between 140-180…marathon runners rate.  6 days solid.  She died running a marathon.  I wouldn’t expect anything less from her.  I believe what Bob said to me the day before her heart stopped.  She never did give up.  She never said, “OK, God…I’m ready.”  She fought long and hard until the very last mile and finally God took her sweet spirit and said “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

She is no longer in pain and agony (you can’t possibly have any idea what her body went through…cancer is EVIL).  She is complete and whole.  And we miss her tremendously.

For those of you who didn’t know, Debbie was actually Bob’s step-mom, for 27 years.  His parents divorced when he was 6 & he went with his dad.  Drew & Debbie were married when Bob was 9.  They went through their ups and downs getting to know one another and through the teen-age years, but when he talked of his “mom”, he referred to Debbie.  She was the one that took him as her own, raised him, fed him, clothed him, loved him, disciplined him, took him to millions of sports practices and games, was fully involved in every aspect of his life.  I met Debbie when I was in junior high.  She has been a part of my own life for over 20 years.  And it’s so hard for her not to be here.

I wish everyone could have a mother-in-law like her.  We got along so well.  She was a mighty woman of God and I learned so much from her.  I didn’t always appreciate her, but have always gotten along with her, respected and admired her.  I have so much to live up to.

And our kids adored her. They are her only grandchildren.  “Moppy” was the icing on the cake to Korah & Kaston.  She was an amazing grandmother.  And I hate that they will live the rest of their lives without her.  And they are hurting…bad.  Kaston has daily 30 minute breakdowns for no reason.  Korah has no emotion what-so-ever.  She actually has been at church camp since Monday.  And I think it’s the best thing we could have done for her right now.

(finishing up this post  a few weeks later…)  It -church camp-was the best thing we could have done for her.  She told me she left her sorrow and sadness and anger for Moppy at camp, at the cross, so that Jesus could take care of it for her.  And she has been great ever since!  Kaston is doing much better now too.  We still use the phrase “Iiiiiii know it!” just like she used to, on a daily basis.  We don’t talk about her alot, but the impression she made on our kids lives (and us too) will always be with us.

On June 21st – 2 weeks to the day of Debbie’s passing, Drew (Bob’s dad) was admitted into the hospital with sugar levels over 300, an infected leg & failing kidneys.  He’s been battling diabetes for 25 years and it’s catching up with him now.  He was on dialysis off & on over the course of 3 weeks & was able to come home last Thursday, July 7th.  However, Bob took him to the ER on Monday  – just 4 days later and he’s in CCU now for failing kidneys.  He’s on dialysis again.  This time may be permanent; they’re hoping it’s temporary. We do not know what the future holds for us.

On July 6th, my great-uncle David Garrett passed away.  We (mom, dad, the kids, & I – oh and 3 dogs) left for the family farm in East Texas the next day.  It was a great celebration of his amazing life and we were able to visit with many family members we only see every few years.  Uncle David was a pillar to the Garrett – and Pippin – family.  He was the most honest, honorable, giving, respected, humble man of God I have ever known.  He was sort of like a grandpa to me since my own grandfathers passed away before I was born.  The funeral was amazing.  He was a veteran and a retired fire fighter (and still a farmer up until last month – he was baling hay!)  There were bag pipes & ringing bells and lots of uniforms and Dallas F.D. vehicles.  In farming communities in Texas, buildings are small.  So, we had the viewing at the funeral home in Sulpher Springs, the funeral at the Baptist Church in Miller Grove – officiated by their Methodist preacher & the burial was at the private family cemetery “down in the bottom” of the farm and the family meal was at the Baptist church in Emory that sits on the farm land that Uncle David donated.  It sits next to the dirt road that leads up to the “big house”, where we stayed – and is under 200 year old oak trees.  You have to cross 2 or 3 cattle guards to get to the “big house” down a long winding dirt road.  It is COUNTRY! 

I love the Garrett Farm.  It’s so peaceful and quiet.  And old. 1800’s old.  Slave ownership old (there are white Garretts & black Garretts in the community).  And really really old farm equipment old.  And beautiful dirt roads old.  And family cemetery’s old.  My mom’s dad is from that area too.  Visited Aunt Francis at her final resting place – where uncle David now lies eternally with his 1st wife of 32 years.  Visited my great grandparents, Presley & Pattie Pippin…they were born in 1899 & mamaw died when I just graduated high school at the age of 93. 

Her daddy was Newt Gresham – he founded the Farmer’s Union in Point, TX.  Which is now the National Farmer’s Union – “Supporting Family Farms and Co-ops since 1902” and is now based out of Washington, DC . http://www.nfu.org/about-nfu/history

from the Texas State Historical Association.  http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgrab.  Several years ago we (the Pippin decendants) were all honorary attendees at the 100 year celebration of the National Farmer’s Union.  Pretty cool, I think-just call me a nerd already.

Anyways, back to the cemetary…I get sidetracked easily, can you tell?!  Saw many many many babies with simply the family last name & baby.  So many babies…did any of them have a broken heart?  Is this maybe where Kaston’s roots lie?  This is where my roots lie (or at least a little bit of them).

So now, we sit & wait what the next chapter of our lives will bring.  We live on a daily schedule now (sometimes it’s hourly), as the future beyond tomorrow is unknown, for real.  We are still trying to finish up sending out thank-you cards from Debbie’s funeral (a month later – sorry to those of you who haven’t received an acknowledgment yet!), filing appropriate paperwork (Bob is now Drew’s Durable Power of Attorney, Medical POA, etc. etc.), still haven’t executed her will or been able to get into her lockbox, bank accounts need to be consolidated (there were several that we weren’t aware of) and personal items to go through.  So much to do, so much to do.

Other than that…we are trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for our kids.  Taking them wakeboarding when the opportunity arises, most times is when Bob gets home from work at 6:30 in the morning.  They go do a set or 2 then come back in & go back to bed!  Sometimes it’s on a Tuesday afternoon, which leads into a Tuesday evening.  Just whenever we decide to set life aside – it will be there when we get back – and veg out on the water.  Korah is at band camp for the next 2 weeks – she is super excited and I’m glad she is getting to experience the fruits of her labor!  She sold many many candy bars so she could go.  She raised $200 and all I had to pay was the additional $50.  I’m so proud of all her hard work.  She also helped pay for her church camp.  About $80 worth!  Now she wants to sell more candy so we can go to Oak Ridge, TN with Bob while he’s there for 3 weeks for training in September.  She is an awesome [sweetie pie].

For those of you visiting from Care Pages…WELCOME!  I figured since I had not posted any thing in like 10 months over there, I could get y’all redirected here & I hope you like it!  Care Pages (for those of you not familiar) was the first social media blog I found out about in 2004.  So I’ve been updating people from all over the world about Kaston the past 6-7 years through Care Pages.  And I have met ALOT of heart families there.  Before blogs and facebook and twitter and myspace, there was Care Pages.  The page name is simply kastonsnyder.

http://www.carepages.com/carepages/kastonsnyder/updates/132600

It was a great way for us to communicate with family & friends what was going on with Kaston during the dark days of open-heart surgeries, caths & all that mess that seems like so long ago (but just like yesterday!)  You can go back & read beginning August 10, 2004 what we were like and what we were going through.  There’s some pretty old pictures on there too.  I have had 707 visitors that have requested to follow him from America to Canada, from Ireland to South Africa.  Pretty profound that THAT many people have heard about him!

May everyone enjoy the rest of their summer break before school starts again in just 5 short weeks.  We already started our summer bridge program & learning about the Declaration of Independence and the flag – because of July 4th – duh, sand, glass, marine biology, and whatever else the kids wanna know about.  Will dive into 7th & 3rd grade…maybe sometime in September?  Who knows, maybe October.

Blessings,

the Snyder’s

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