I’ve mentioned that my Grandpa was in hospice, and that we went up suddenly to see him and drop off my mother to help with care. We left Sunday, and on Thursday, Valentine’s Day, the hospice nurse told my mother 72 hours or less.
Late Thursday night, my dad called my husband while I was sleeping. Grandpa had passed.
My grandpa was a Christmas Eve baby, so it was only appropriate that he passed on Valentine’s Day to be with his wife again.
He was a good man, fair and mellow tempered, quick to laugh. He loved to play tricks on the people around him, and as a particularly gullible child I fell for them frequently. My grandma passed in 2012, and he never wanted to outlive her, so the last six years have been hard for him and for my uncle’s family.
He was a pipe fitter, was able to retire early, and he and my grandma traveled as snow birds in their motor home each year for 15 years? 20?
They had a cabin they went to in the summer, one my mother spent summers playing at, and I spent a handful of weeks at through the years before it became too much to maintain, and they sold it.
His death was not unexpected; it was only a surprise in how quickly he went downhill. He lived in a Mother-in-Law addition to the house he built and my uncle now owns. He never had to go to a home or die in the hospital. They decided to keep him at home, in hospice, with a DNR so that the ending wouldn’t be traumatic for him.
Maybe 75% of the time, I’m fine. I didn’t know him as well as I knew my dad’s mother. When she passed, it was devastating.
But that last 25% of the time, there’s this sick tension in my stomach and a choked up feeling. Tears. I don’t want him to be dead, but I understand that he didn’t want to be living anymore. He wanted to be with my grandma, the love of his life that he spent 50 years with.
When we left on Sunday, I told him that I probably wouldn’t see him again, and that I wanted him to know I loved him. I asked if he wanted me to keep calling me (I had been, nearly daily, for a few weeks now, and for more than six months I had been calling weekly.) or if it was too much stress.
He said it was too much stress, so I gave him a hug, told him I loved him, and we went home.
I knew he was going to die.
It surprised me how much it hurt.
I don’t deal well with change, and there have been very few family deaths in my life. My grammy, my grandmother, and an aunt.
I feel like, since I didn’t know him well, I shouldn’t be so upset. But emotions aren’t rational.
I thought I would be upset that my mom is hurting, and I am, but I’m upset on my own too, and this was unexpected.
He was a Christmas gift to a loving family, and he rejoined my grandmother on a day for lovers.
Goodbye, Grandpa. We love you.