My Grandfather passed away lastnight. I got the phone call at 11:38 p.m. It wasn’t shocking news, but waking from a dead sleep I was rather slow to react. He just turned 86 years old in December. We knew it was coming. He has been going downhill for quite a while now but just in the last couple of weeks we found out his kidneys were failing. He was taken to the hospital because he became dehydrated and we found out he also had pneumonia. He returned to his nursing home last Friday but was only expected to make it a few more weeks.
My uncle and his kids made plans to come in from Virginia to visit him one last time. Their flight was for next Friday. It is sad that they didn’t get a chance to see him, although seeing him in the condition he was in may not have left a very good memory.
I don’t know yet when funeral services will be, but I’m guessing it will be Monday. Maybe Tuesday if my uncle can make it in. I’m really hoping for Tuesday as Monday is my mom’s birthday. Even though he was my Dad’s father, my mom was very close to my Grandpa and continued to visit him even after she and my dad split up a few years ago. His death is probably harder on her than on me.
Even though I am sad, in a strange way I also feel relief. My Grandpa was ready to go. He’s been begging God for years to just go ahead and take him. He just was not happy sitting around the nursing home in a wheelchair all day. He never liked to sit still. He always had some kind of project he was working on. A few years ago he had a pretty bad stroke and then a series of small strokes that followed and he lost most of the use of his hands and his ability to read and write. There really just wasn’t much he could do besides sit and stare at the tv all day and that just didn’t satisfy him.
When I was in college I did a project for my geriatrics class where we had to choose an older family member and interview them about their life. I chose my grandpa. I video taped the interview and created a scrapbook of pictures that covered most of his life. I learned a lot about my Grandpa that day. You see, we were never very close. I was extremely close with my grandma when I was younger. She died when I was only ten and after that I had a very difficult time being around my grandpa. So, I really didn’t know very much about him. After the interview, I felt much closer to him. Now, I have the urge to pull out that video and watch it. I want to remember him the way he was then, before the stroke and the old age snuck in and changed him.
I really don’t know how to feel right now. I am sad that he is gone. Yet, at the same time, I am happy that he no longer has to suffer. I know he is going to a better place. I don’t really know what happens to you when you die, but I hope that his spirit will once again be with my Grandma and my uncle who passed before him.