Almost 38 years ago my grandfather showed up at the hospital that I was born at drunk. Not because he liked the liquor but because I was his first grandchild and he had been celebrating.
When I was a toddler, he and his live-in girlfriend, Dorie, lavished me with what presents they could and all the love that they had. My grandma Dorie passed away when I was young and I do not remember her. I remember feeling so much love for her because I still have it but I do not remember her, the person.
After Dorie’s death my grandfather ejected himself from my life. As a teenager he met a woman that had a daughter a couple of years older than I. She calls him dad and her children now call him grandpa. He spent most of his free time at their house fixing things, babysitting, housesitting, etc.
I have never known my grandfather. He was too busy with his ‘new’ family. When my ex-husband and I had an issue with our front door my dad got my grandfather to come over and ‘fix’ it for us and I was grateful, but that is the only time he has done anything for me since I was 3 or 4. A few years ago he moved in with my parents but he never talked to us when we went over there other than to say hello or goodbye.
Recently, he has been put into a home for the elderly and his health has gone down fast. Sunday August 6th my mom told me that he had fallen and broken his hip and that they found fluid in both lungs. They said he was too weak to operate on so they were just trying to keep him pain free. In order to do this doctors put him into a medically induced coma. Last night, August 7th, my mom called to tell me that my grandfather had started ‘the death rattle’ and that he wasn’t expected to live more than 24-48 hours.
I talked to my ex-husband about bringing my youngest home early so that she could say goodbye to him. After working a full shift (3rd shift) he drove the 2-2.5 hours to bring her home today. My oldest traded shifts with a friend so that she could go with us and say her goodbye’s as well.
Standing next to his bed, looking at him propped up was difficult. He would take a breath every 10-30 seconds and when he would exhale each breath it rattled. Since he’s in a coma he has a catheter and I noticed that there is more blood than urine because his internal organs had started to shut down. Seeing him like that I wanted to apologize for hating him all these years. For never giving him the chance, never offering him opportunities to come around and get to know my children and I. All these years I was jealous of the girl he took care of instead of allowing him to do the same for me. All I had to do was ask but my pride held me back in such a selfish state that I’m sure he suffered as much as I did.
I sit here thinking of all the things I could have done differently, should have done differently, but did not. He was, is, and always will be family by blood but will forever be a stranger because of my pride, my anger, and my choices.
It is with a heavy, anxious heart that I sit here at my dining room table waiting for the call that I know is coming but unable to stop it. I sit here with remorse. I sit here with hate, not at him but at myself. I should have told him that I love him and how sorry I am for holding it against him for having a heart so big that he chose to take care of a child that wasn’t his, for being jealous that she knew him but I did not.
It is 8:20 at night and visitation is over. With how he was breathing when I was there at 2:30 this afternoon I do not believe that he will survive the night. If he does then I’m afraid to say it but I think it’ll be awful for him. Mama says that he can still hear but can he still feel? Is it that he can feel but he’s unable to scream out in pain because of the medication? I fear this is true but hope and pray that it is not.
With nothing else to say I sadly close tonight and ask for your thoughts and prayers during this tough and difficult time.