Thursday, May 1, 2014

Farewell Grandpa!

   Wednesday April 23rd was the same as any other day. The older kids went to school, hubby went to work, and I was home taking care of our youngest. I picked the boys up after school, helped with homework, made dinner and waited for hubby to get home so we could eat. We went grocery shopping that day. We sent the boys to bed and got settled in to watch some TV before it was time for us to head to bed ourselves. Hubby got a phone call from his older brother. This was normal as well. We paused our show and I was sitting there crocheting, listening to the half of the conversation I could hear. I could tell something wasn't right. I looked at hubby and mouthed the words "Did grandpa die?" He nodded his head.

   I was surprised. I wasn't too surprised though. Grandpa has been sick for a long time. He's been in and out of hospitals and rehab centers. I had babysat grandpa before so grandma could have a break. The memories came flooding back. How we sat there and watched what seemed at the time to be endless old cowboy shows such as Bonanza with a few Walker, Texas Ranger thrown in between. When he didn't want to watch that anymore, he would turn on tennis.

   I had my youngest with me when I babysat grandpa. I would try and visit with grandpa while trying to keep my son happy. Grandpa would tell me the same things and ask the same questions over and over. I would reply with the same answer I had told him before, while pretending it was the first time. I could tell his memory was slowly fading. I had to leave him for a bit so I could do the after school pick up. My older two were so happy to go over. After a while though, the excitement wore off and some boredom started to sink in. The boys started fighting. I did the best I could to keep them happy while Grandpa was starting to get more and more annoyed. I couldn't leave him though. He kept trying to tell me he would be fine. He didn't need anyone to watch him and I should go home. He started calling my father in law, trying to convince him I needed to leave and he would be fine. I was told to stay, so I did my best.

   Every time after that day, when I would see grandpa, I would ask him how he was doing. Some days I would get a little dance and he would tell me he was great, never been better. Other times I would get an "I'm still alive!" The one thing that never changed though, was he would tell me how happy he was that I watched him that day. He would tell me that he loved having us over and that I should do it again. It made me happy that he remembered the happy part of that day and seemed to have forgotten the not so happy part.

   When hubby got off of the phone, we got the boys out of bed. We had to tell them the bad news. They were still awake talking anyway. They came in and we told them the sad news. You could see their hearts break. It was a total shock to them.

   The next day, everyone stayed home. We all needed the comfort of having each other close by. We didn't do much that day, we mostly all did our own thing with a hug of comfort thrown in here and there. My oldest was very sad. He's such a sweet boy and doesn't like it when people are sad or feeling down. He took it the hardest. My middle one acted like nothing happened. He pestered his older brother more than normal. That seemed to be the way he was going to cope with the loss. Our youngest didn't know what was going on. He was too young to understand. You could tell he was picking up all of the emotions. He was very clingy and sometimes sad, but he didn't know why.

   Friday was my birthday. I took the boys to school and started the day off by telling the teachers what happened. I told them if the boys needed me, to call and I would come get them. When I told the teacher of my oldest, her hand flew to her heart as she told me how sorry she was to hear the news. She looked like she was trying to keep down the tears herself. I did my best to stay strong. I didn't want to have a break down in front of my boys teachers and friends. I went into the office and told them what happened as well. I needed to fill out prearranged absences for the funeral.

   On my walk home, one of my best friends pulled up next to me and told me she was taking me to a surprise birthday breakfast and two more friends were meeting us there. I was so surprised and happy for the distraction. I had a great time! We talked and laughed and life seemed normal. Then my phone rang. My middle one was in the nurses office and needed me. I jetted back to the school. I asked him if he needed a hug or if he needed to come home. He said "I need to be with you. I'm so sad!"

   When my mom called to tell me happy birthday, we talked about grandpa. I was having an emotional roller coaster of a day. I was going from happy it was my birthday to depressed because grandpa was gone. I tried to focus on the happy. I was going to get a birthday date with my hubby. That would make everything all better!

   It didn't make everything all better. We had a week between grandpa passing and the funeral. The kids continued with their choice of coping with the loss. It was HARD. I didn't have any time for myself. I always had a 3 year old that wanted to be held and snuggled, which is hard when he is the size of a 5 year old. I had a 7 year old that could only cope by making life difficult for others. A 9 year old that would swing between really sad and irritated. I was stressed. I didn't know what to do with myself. I didn't have time to do what I needed to do to cope. I still had chores that needed to be done, kids that needed their mom, I still had to make dinner every night, get the kids to school every morning and homework every day. My oldest needed new church clothes so he didn't look like he was wearing his little brother's clothes because he had just spurted and skipped a size.

   We woke up bright and early yesterday. The day of the funeral. I was anxious. I wanted it to be over with. I didn't want to talk to people I didn't know. I didn't want them to take my hand and tell me how sorry they were for my loss. I have a hard time with people I don't know. When we got to the viewing and walked into the room, I knew almost everyone there. I didn't know them all well, but I had at least met almost every one. Then my mother in law told me my mom was in the hall. I was on a mission. I went and found my mom and got the much needed mom hug. Don't get me wrong, I had many, many hugs from both my hubby and my boys. There's just something about a mom hug though. She couldn't stay, but we were happy she came.

   The services for grandpa were short and very nice. It was a veteran memorial. It was interesting to watch the ceremony and how particular they are when folding the flag. The boys thought it was fun seeing "real army guys". One of my older nieces told me that my oldest saved her that day. He sat by her and cuddled up with her the whole time. I think he found the one that needed him most and stuck to her. When we were at the burial site, he went from person to person giving out hugs. It was the sweetest thing.

   Today, I feel a little better. It's amazing what some closure can do for you. I feel like the stress has been lifted. The sorrow is still there, but that will take time. The boys got ready for school without a problem. My oldest doesn't seem quite so sad, the middle one is eating again and my youngest is off playing as I write this. I look forward for the healing, to getting back into the normal routine. Grandpa will always be missed but I know I will see him again. I'm sure he will be at our family gatherings, sitting in his spot by the fire place wishing he could play catch with the boys.

   We love you grandpa!

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