Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tell us about Grandpa

I was looking through posts that I never posted, and this was one of them. I had found a writing workshop on another blog, where it gives you a random topic for you to write about, and this was mine..

Tell us about Grandpa.

This was my prompt. How Ironic. This time last year was a very difficult time for my family; my grandfather underwent heart surgery. He spent the next two months in and out of the hospital and a nursing home, until we said our final goodbyes.

I was so very close to my grandpa. The wounds of goodbye are still so real.. I guess a year really is not enough time to heal. In front of me on our entertainment center is a picture frame that says "I heart Papa" and a picture of us when I was just a baby. It is the only picture in our house at the moment.

The past two years have been rough. Last year, I sent off my soon-to-be husband to bootcamp. I remember sitting at my desk in my dorm writing Chris a letter, and telling him that my grandpa was going to have heart surgery. That I was scared that he wouldn't be able to walk me down the aisle. I remember being scared to go to Chicago, in case I wouldn't be able to make it back to my grandpa in time. I remember calling Chris numerous times after graduation telling him that I was packing a bag to drive two hours home because there was another complication with his recovery. I remember being told that he was asking for me. I remember lying to my grandpa that it was Saturday when it was really Thursday so that he wouldn't get upset about me leaving school. I remember not being able to tell him that I got married, in case it made him get too worked up and raised his blood pressure.I remember calling Chris and telling him that I was leaving for Phoenix again. Him telling me that everything was going to be okay, that my grandfather was a strong man. Telling him that No, this was it. I was going home to say goodbye. I remember sitting in a cab with a driver who didn't understand that he was driving me home to say goodbye to my dying grandfather. That everytime the beeper went off to say that he was going over the speed limit, I wanted to scream and cry. I remember Chris calling me and asking me if I wanted him to come home. I remember thinking for a split second that this was no excuse to come see me. Realizing that he just wanted to support me. I remember being relieved and scared that we made it to the hospital. I remember seeing my grandfather on the respirator. Waiting with my family in the waiting room. Waking my mom up to tell her that it was time. Seeing the pain and denial in her eyes. Filling up his room with the 20+ people in my family. I remember being the one to hold his hand as he passed on. Kissing his unshaven cheek to say one more goodbye. I remember wanting nothing more than to have Chris there. Crying like a baby at the airport when I saw him. I remember tears at the funeral. Hugs. Stories. Laughter. Prayers. Feeling my grandpa looking down on me, knowing that he was proud that my husband was there in his uniform to honor him. I remember getting a tattoo after the ceremony, one part for my grandpa, one part for my husband. I remember crying not because of the pain, but because of the thought that "all these needle pricks are for the pain you had to endure."

My grandpa was a stubborn old man.. I have heard so many people in my family say that they got their stubborness from him. He was a good man, who provided for his family, and loved them in his own way. I was always his girl, his little flower, and I looked up to him like he was my father. My mom and I will always have a connection to each other through him- she was the youngest, the 'baby girl,' 'daddy's little girl.' When I came around, I was 'Papa's little girl.'

My grandpa knew it was his time to go for a long time. Even when we all told him to keep fighting, he knew different, he knew that he needed to let go. He held on until my aunt, the only one who had to fly, could get to the hospital and say her goodbyes. I have a feeling that if he had known that Chris was now family, he would have held on long enough for him also.

I completely forgot that I had wrote this post, but man am I glad that I did. As I reread my own words, I remembered the little details that I had forgotten, like how I noticed that no one had shaved my grandpa's beard, even though I knew he would have wanted that. And when I got to the part about having to wake my mom up to tell her that it was time for her to say goodbye to her father, I felt the pain of that moment all over again. Pain because I remember sitting next to her not knowing how I was going to wake my beautiful, finally resting, mother with such awful news, and finally just throwing the words at her with force, since I didn't know how to handle it myself.
My whole pregnancy I thought about how my son will never have a relationship with my father the way I had with my grandfather, but with the chaos of having a newborn, I didn't think about it again until a few days ago, and it hit me hard. I wish so much that my grandpa could hold my son in his arms, because I know he would be so proud. I wish more than anything that I could see the look on his face when I told him that Caden's middle name was after him, and the only reason we didn't name him Jack was because my sister had already named our dog that, and then hear his laugh again.

I love you, Grandpa. I cannot wait to tell my son stories about you.