and through the woods its of to gramma's house we go...
This morning on my way to work I called my mother. I knew something was wrong the second she paused a hello. It went something like this:
" ........... hello."
"Hey Ma - what's wrong?"
"Grampa is dying I'm packing for Jersey right now, dad is on his way home - he's driving"
There was no leading up to the bad news softly or easily it was just laid out like it is. For this I admire my mother. We talked for a few and agreed I'd call my sister and she'd call my cousin and we'd talk in a few. So I called M and completely lead up to the bad news with "well, I am calling with some not so good news, you know grampa has been sick for a long time and has been in the hospital for over a week now ..." We talk - she agrees to call him at the hospital right away and then my cousins calls and by now everyone is crying and we are all calling each other back and forth - it was ridiculous. The more we talked the more upset each of us got. The only one of us that had any brains was my sister who although sad and crying managed to call grampa to tell him she loved him and would see him at Christmas.
We are leaving in the morning to visit him in the hospital. He is a very sick man who has been quite frail for about five years since he had a stroke. Over the last year every time he coughed to hard or said he felt weak my mother thought he was dying. She hasn't missed a birthday, an anniversary or one chance to see them - every time she gets two days off in a row she is flying over the Tapenzee in her Hyundai trying to get there as fast as possible. But I haven't ever felt that way, the need to hurry up and get there - just in case. But this time it is different, blood tests show his kidney's are failing due to a toxic blood infection and the medical staff cannot stop the infection. They warned my grandmother that when the infection gets to his artificial valve in his heart he will not make it.
I am sad but almost distant from it. I haven't ever been close to anyone who died. My great grandmother, two great aunts, and an uncle passed away all fairly close together - and I do miss them, but it isn't the same. I never went to their funerals or was asked too. I never really felt a huge loss and was able to pray for their soles and say they lead good lives. This one is going to knock the wind out of my sails, I can already feel it.
On my refrigerator is a blue piece of paper. I wrote all over it last year during Thanksgiving. Each time I went into the kitchen I jotted down something new my grandfather had told me. He was almost giddy with pride as he told us stories of his families first car, his cousins, stories his father shared with him about when he was a little boy, and plenty more memories. It was a really special time. I better read over my doctor handwriting and ask any questions.