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Sixty-nine years – that’s how long my grandparents were married. At 90 and 84, respectively, Papa and Nana shared a lifetime of friendship, trials and tribulations, but most of all love. As their eldest grandchild, I feel blessed to have witnessed their love and devotion, not just to each other but also to their children, friends and most of all, the Lord.

    As the publisher of a magazine, I often allow you, the reader, to see certain facets of my life. I want you to know me, but it’s rare for me to be so open with my feelings. I want to share this moment with you and it seems fitting that I write about their love story in this issue. After all, February is the month of love.

   The son of a farmer, James Chesley Blackwell Sr., grew up poor in rural South Carolina. The second of four siblings, he never dreamed of moving to a big city, chasing dreams of grandeur. He sought the simple life. Marrying the love of his life, Carolyn White, building a modest home on family land and raising a family. It was a good life.

   When I began writing this column, my Papa was still clinging to life, somewhere between this earthly world and heaven. He has since joined heaven’s angels. And while the pain of watching his decline was at times more than I thought I could bear, I realized what a blessing I had been given. You see, he was in no pain, free of disease, spending his final days in the home that he built with his only love and raised his family in, surrounded by those whom he loved the most in this world.

    In the end, isn’t that what we all want? To live our best life, filled with love, lasting friendships and happiness. My Papa did and it was a beautiful life!

-Ashlee

 

Article appears in the February/March 2018 issue of Augusta Magazine.

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