I was laying in bed with Grady tonight as he was “falling asleep,” and by that I mean, him asking me question after question...Can I hold your hand, Why do you put your leg out of the covers, Are you happy? Can I go to new Grandma’s house for breakfast? I told him no, but maybe for snack tomorrow. He happily said YAY! “Are my toys at Grandma’s house? Why? Where is new Grandma’s old house?” I often get confused between which Grandma he’s talking about. Jimmy’s mom moved here about 5 months ago. He’s confused. My mom visits a few times a year.
Then I started to think about when I was small, around Stella’s age, 10. I had my Grandma and Grandpa and Nana and Papa in England. Grady is 3.5 he really won’t remember PopPop, my father in law, he died last year when he was 2.5. He still does mention he misses him. And now, there is my dad; 2 months and 2 days ago my dad died. The last time I blogged was the anniversary of Al’s death and right before my final trip to be with my dad.
Grady talks about Papa, says he misses him. I’ve never actually said the words to him that he died. It breaks my heart he will eventually forget, because he is so young.
My grandpa was always going places. He always went to 10 stores with coupons for the best deals. He drove slow and always arrived super early. I remember in elementary school looking out into the parking lot and seeing him waiting….I still would have 30 minutes of school left. He was always around to see my sister and me swim through high school, saw me go off to college. He died when I was a Junior in College. The laugh my grandpa (my moms dad) had was infectious. He was the perfect grandfather. My sister and I were his everything….until the BOYS, Michael and Andrew, my “little” cousins came along.….Grandpa got the BIGGEST kick out them and all their baseball this and that. Then, came Stacey and baby Amy….Mind you, these little ones are now in their later teens and later 20’s! Grandpa was so proud of all of us. He watched swim meets, baseball games and watched his youngest granddaughters grow up while living only 25 yards away.
My children will not have those memories.
I don’t remember much of my Papa, my dad’s dad. My Papa, died when I was a junior in high school. He was in England, and I never saw much of him. But what I do remember, like in the pictures of him when he was younger (I was very small) was HIS smile...My DAD had his smile. A beautiful smile. My children may not remember such a smile. The last time my dad was here he was thin, walked with a cane had just been diagnosed with metastatic bone cancer and was on the verge of a broken hip which we didn’t know. I am SO thankful for those 14 days my children got to spend with their Papa.
I wish I talked to him more the last 2 weeks of his life. It all happened so fast, the days become intertwined. I spoke to him Christmas afternoon. He only spent about 10 minutes on the phone with me because talking made him so tired. I believe it was the next day he had fluid extracted (ascites) from his growing abdomen. At some point, maybe Saturday he fell and was taken to the hospital because he was so weak. I think Sunday or Monday they did a liver biopsy because of his crazy levels. They also took MORE fluid out from him. I spoke to him Tuesday because he wanted me on the phone when the oncologist came in. He could barely speak, he had such difficulty. The doctor came in and told us his fate. The skin cancer was in his liver. There was nothing they could do. It was time for hospice. I spoke to him one more time, maybe on Wednesday for a few minutes. Erin and my mom flew in January 1st, Erin said he mumbled a few things, HOME, was one of them. I flew into Washington and was brought to him at 9:30 at night. NOTHING and I mean NOTHING can prepare you for what cancer does to a person’s body. He looked like he was 100 years old. He couldn't speak or open his eyes or move much. The cancer was taking him.
Hospice was set up at his home.
I road in the transport vehicle at 1:30 in the afternoon on January 3rd; I told him we were going home.
I told him that when He left, he had to take care of my Cullen and to tell him his mommy loves him and misses him. I had been debating when to ask him or tell him what I needed. I didn't know the right time to say it….But I did it. He never mentioned Cullen to me the whole time Grady has been alive. But when I said it, I swear he mumbled “Cullen.”
1:45 my dad was wheeled into his home and his EYES, his EYES OPENED….He knew. He fought so hard to get HOME.
We settled him in the bed so he could see his beautiful landscaping and so he could hear his waterfall. He mumbled ‘water,’ so I gave him a few drops. I asked him to blink a few minutes later and he didn’t. I sat down, Erin, my mom and the Hospice coordinator came over, rubbed his chest told him to breathe…. he did, twice….and was gone, 2:20pm.
My dad was STRONG. He lived with leukemia for over 18 years, fought pulmonary fibrosis caused by a chemotherapy drug, fought squamous cell carcinoma for YEARS. Who knows how long it had been in his bones...then his liver. He fought. He was STUBBORN...He died, the way he wanted. In his HOME with those that loved him. My dad was a fighter, like my son...