ever since i was a little girl, my grandfather had always been a constant in my life. he was always there, ready to support me in every endeavor. then one day, he wasn't. not because he didn't want to be, but because he couldn't. since the day he passed, i have been broken in a way that will never be healed.
even when you are expecting a death.. your loved one has been placed on hospice and you know it could be any day now, any minute, you never really are prepared for when it happens. my grandfather suffered through a brief battle with cancer. the time between his diagnosis and his death was only a few months. not nearly enough time to say goodbye to a person that you share a lifetime of memories with. the day my grandpa passed, we all had known since the night before that it wouldn't be long. but still, we were not prepared.
my grandfather had not been himself for most of the week that he was on hospice. he was in so much pain and the pain meds made him loopy and unaware of his surroundings. he didn't speak much and mostly just slept. one of the hardest things about his death is that i cannot remember the last conversation we had that was normal. but knowing that my last conversation with him was one of the last things he heard is helpful in healing that pain.
we were all taking turns talking to him the morning of his passing. my fiancé and i, who was just my boyfriend at the time, went into the bedroom to see him. earlier that week, before the medication took over, my grandpa had asked me to see him, but he hadn't managed to get there until that morning. to this day, i think that he wanted to see him to give him his blessing in asking me to marry him. it hurts not knowing for sure.
i sat with my grandpa and held his hand and just started talking. i told him how much i loved him and how he had always been more of a father to me than a grandfather. i thanked him for everything he had done and sacrificed for me and how i appreciated it so much more than he could ever know. i said, "grandpa, austen is here. he finally made it to see you." i cried as i watched him breathe. i told him that we are all going to miss him so much, that it was going to be so hard, but that we will take care of grandma and we will make sure she will be okay. that is when i noticed his breathing slowing down. he took a breath and i stared at his chest waiting for him to take another..
i ran out of the bedroom and all it took was the look on my face for my whole family to come running in. we all gathered around his bed and my grandma started talking to him, telling him it was okay to go. he took one last breath with his family surrounding him.
to this day, the death of my grandfather is the hardest thing i have had to go through. it has been so hard to accept that i have a lifetime of memories to live through that he does not get to be apart of. knowing that i will get married, have children and watch them grow up without sharing that with him makes his death so much harder.
one thing that i have learned about grief is that it never goes away. it has been over two years since we lost my grandfather and sometimes all it takes is a picture of him to knock the wind out of me and make me feel the loss as fresh as the day he left us. since he has been gone, i find myself forgetting what his voice sounds like or the way he smelled. nothing is worse than feeling like you are losing the person that you already lost. all i have now are the memories of the 20 years that i got to spend with him.
my grandpa was a light in my life. he truly was an angel in my eyes even before he gained his wings. i wanted so much more time with him. i wanted him to walk me down the aisle to my fiancé, i wanted him to hold my children and take them fishing like he used to take us, i wanted him to live forever. and he will in the hearts of those that loved him so deeply.
i truly feel lucky...lucky to have been given such an amazing man to look up to, one i will never ever forget.
like Winnie the Pooh once said, "how lucky am i to have something so special that makes saying goodbye so hard."