There is no way to ease into this….
My Grandfather died at 10:37pm on April 9, 2011. He was 81 years young. My grandparents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in May 2010.
I feel the need to write something about him but don’t know where to start or what to share and what not to. Some dates/times might be off slightly. Things are running together. Those of you reading this may or may not know my grandfather. And some of you may feel I am sharing too many details, that possible strangers don’t need to know. But this is my process. You can quit reading at any time.
He has been back and forth to the doctor’s office since Christmas. With one thing or another. Looking back they are signs that maybe someone should have put together. You know, like a doctor or somebody. But that is another angry post for another day.
Starting March 19 he was in and out of the hospital; mostly in. It started with some stomach issues. He was discharged from the hospital Saturday. My mom brought him down to the hospital again on Sunday and he was admitted. We found out he had blood clots in his bladder. I took my daughter up to see him on Monday. She ended up eating half his lunch. She sat on the end of his bed and he fed her. He said the hospital food was no good, so he fed it to my daughter! Thanks, Grandpa! My Grandfather doesn’t like hospitals and was getting quite anxious being there. I spent the night with him on March 22. It wasn’t a terrible night and I now am grateful for the time to share with him. Just him and I.
They discharged him on Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday evening he was in so much pain in his back. Late Wednesday night or the wee hours of Thursday morning he was admitted back to the hospital. Tests were run. Blood samples taken. CAT scans. Bone scans. Urine tests. Every test under the sun. And the answer came back. Lymphoma. But we were hopeful. Maybe there would be something we could do. Radiation or chemo. Something.
Sunday he was discharged again. I was there to drive my Grandfather home from the hospital. And we got him settled. Later that night he fell and cut his head. My aunt and grandmother took him to the Urgent Care connected to his doctor’s office. His doctor said he was too sick to be at home. He needed to be admitted back into the hospital.
He was admitted again on Monday morning. He had a biopsy on Wednesday. And the preliminary results came in that it was a fast progressing cancer. We were told or found out through our own research that this usually comes to an end in a few weeks. Saturday morning I called my grandfather and told him I loved him. I was leaving for a week the next day and I expected him to be out of the hospital when I got home. He said he was good. And told me he loves me three times in my 30 second phone call with him. Saturday early afternoon the oncologist told my mom that death was not immanent but she should start the process of getting my brother home from Japan. He is a Marine. Just like my grandfather was. And that my sister should come home sooner rather than later. She booked a flight for April 16. Friday, April 8 was my grandfather's last fabulous day. He was pain free, up walking around, and being his usual self.
Jerry and I were supposed to leave for Puerto Rico for a trip he won through work on Sunday, April 10. We decided to still go as we were told things would not end soon. A few hours later my mom called to tell me that my grandfather was forgetting to breathe. He was saying he needed to go. They were going to let him go to sleep and it would all probably be over soon. That was around 7:30pm. I got the phone call about 10:45 that he was gone.
The next 3 days were a blur. His funeral was April 12. I shared some memories of him at my grandmother’s request. That was not easy. I don’t do that kind of thing. I usually say funny things, one-liners. That’s how I cope. I will share more memories of him later. My sister read a letter that my brother wrote to him. That was hard. It moved everyone to tears. Things wrapped up and we went outside for the military honors. THAT WAS HARD. There was a 21 gun salute that made my sister and I jump. And brought us both to tears. We watched them fold the flag and thought of my brother. They had better do that right or Paul would be pissed! A Marine that graduated with my brother presented the flag to my grandmother. He is being cremated so his intournment won't be until June when my brother is back from Japan.
Afterwards we all went to my grandparent’s church for a luncheon. It was nice. Nice to have those people there to remember my grandfather and comfort my grandmother.
All in all? This past week has sucked.