One Month Ago Today.

Some Memorable Facebook Status’ quotes: 

my grandfather is a proud, stubborn, kind hearted man.He woke up this morning smiling bc/he slept the entire night w out any problems and says to me, “Good, i’m moving in the right direction. I wont have you ruining your family because of me. The sooner I can get through the night on my own, the sooner you can get back to your family.”

 August 1 at 7:26am

**I remember feeling so torn between my children and my grandfather. I struggled with allowing God to renew me, carry me and give me the strength.  I fought tooth and nail, so sure that my children were suffering because of this decision I had made, because of this job I had to do. Couldn’t I just trust that I was making the right choice, that taking care of my grandfather was a job I was called to do? He was so selfless and kind, he was patient and humble. I can only dream of one day resembling the greatness he possessed.**

He’s all tucked in bed with clean clothes, oxygen on and medicine given. each day he spends more time fighting to stay awake and becomes weaker by the minute, barely making it from the bed to the bathroom or the bathroom to his chair. Tomorrow he says he will use a wheelchair because “The damn hallway is getting longer and longer every day”… okay pop, we will use the chair. 🙂

· August 2 at 10:18pm

**He was such a proud man.  This was the last day he walked on his own. Barely breathing, heart barely pumping and he wanted to walk back and forth from the bedroom to his chair or chair to the bathroom INDEPENDENTLY! Impressive yes, but was getting riskier by the minute. Each moment he spent confused mentally, each meal he chose not to eat… I knew he was getting weaker.  I was so proud of him for taking the decision into his own hands and announcing that he would use the wheelchair, I encouraged it but I did not want to have to “TELL” him that he wasn’t allowed to walk anymore.  He at least still had his dignity in tact. Every time I walk down that hallway, I hear his voice and see the smirk on his face when he tried telling me “the hallway was getting longer”. **

My grandfather was not ready to get up out of bed this morning and was in a feisty mood. he told me to leave him in bed and put 2 white lily’s on his chest. I said “no, lily’s are ugly, plus they would have to be in a pot so grandma can replant them.” he laughed then replied with “okay, Naked Ladies then.” (FYI- Naked Ladies are a type of flower

 August 15 at 12:39pm

**One of these days, this will probably be my next tattoo.  A Naked Lady, in all it’s pink glory and the date 8-21-11**

Prayers appreciated for my family right now…as the time approaches we all seem to just hover and pace in circles wondering what we can do, what is there to do? … Pray. Sit and Pray.

August 21 at 10:47pm

**I remember knowing at the time that I posted this; The end was near.  The nurses changed shifts and during report his breathing pattern changed dramatically. He had been fighting all day to breathe. Desperately trying to sit up or get out of bed and be relieved of the horrible feeling of drowning.  We kept alternating the medication until finally in the middle of the day he was able to get about 3 hours of sleep. Around 5pm, he was agitated again.  Calling for help every ten minutes, being comforted by our voices or us squeezing his hand, but it was only temporary.  He didn’t really acknowledge we were there verbally, but he knew.  He knew what was happening and his body was in panic mode. At 9pm when his breathing pattern became so rapid I went out into the living room and told my father and my uncle very certainly that IF he continued breathing that way he would NOT survive the night. I had seen it before and I knew, it was finally  the end.**

The loving patient amazing man who raised me is gone. Rest in peace Pop, I love you!

 August 22 at 12:50am

**Praise God we had an amazing night nurse from the hospice agency! He was very experienced and I trusted his judgement.  Although I did not go home that night I sat comfortably in the other room knowing that this man would come get me when the time was near.  I spent an hour or two in the room whispering quietly in my grandfather’s ear, telling him we were all here still (minus my father, who Pop would have understood why he went home) telling him that it was okay to go and that grandma would be taken care of.  I sat and talked with the nurse for a while, we chatted about the man my grandfather was and his amazing life he led.  around 1130pm I sat down in the other room and as I contemplated possibly going to sleep I heard footsteps in the hall, it was the nurse. “Its time.” he said.  I woke my uncle up instantly and we both came into the room. His breathing had almost stopped entirely. I looked at my uncle and suggested we wake my grandmother up. He bolted out of the room to get both her and my brother. I whispered in his ear that Grandma was coming, she was here. His breathing picked up again, but large, heavy…empty heaving breaths.  These were not breaths of life, this was death.  I held his hand, brushed his hair with my fingers and kept whispering to him. His shoulders lifted with each laboring attempt to breathe. His eyes were closed, his lips were going blue.  One last breath and he was gone.  His body continued the “movements” of breathing for a minute or two, but he was gone. I touched my nose to his cheek and smiled to myself remembering all the times in movies and tv I would cringe when I saw family kiss their dead loved ones…I kissed him. I told him I loved him. Then I escorted my grandmother to his side.  She talked to him for a few minutes, unaware that he was already gone. “Its okay Pop, we are here.” she said.  She kissed his hand and looked up at his face, then to me. “Becky… he’s not breathing.” she said…. I softly replied, “I know, Grandma.” She went through a quick process of being angry he left her, hoping that if she got mad enough that he would come back, crying because of that loneliness…to smiling and laughing at his impeccable timing (he always stayed up late to watch the 11 o clock news then went to bed at midnight and she would yell at him for it). She shared our joy that he was no longer in pain, that he was finally in peace and we as a family could now begin to move on.  I remember texting my husband who was anxiously awaiting an update. I wasn’t sure what kind of response I was expecting, but when I got the text back I looked up and he was standing in the doorway to my grandfather’s room. I don’t know if he was already there or he immediately ran down from our house, but he was there…in that moment he was there. I can not describe the incredible support, love and compassion I felt from him in that moment. It will be one of those moment’s I will remember happily for the rest of my life.

The aftermath was awkward, silent and unnerving.  We sat around literally for hours waiting for the crematorium people to come pick up his body.  My grandmother sat bundled up in her recliner eating left over chicken and dumpling soup while my entire family paced around the house, no one knowing quite what to do or say. I had the privilege, YES privilege to assist the nurse with my grandfather’s postmortem care.  In hospitals and nursing homes the CNA’s I worked with would complain and fight over who got this duty, I welcomed it. What an honor. Shame on them.  Knowing that I was there, I helped care for him 24-7 in the last days, last moments of his life but also after life and into death I cared for his body and made sure it was done with love and respect. Richard was kind and allowed me to help, he didn’t have to… but he did and I am grateful to him for that opportunity.  FINALLY the men came to take his body away and as we sat in the living room we watched them carry the body bag through the room and out the door on a stretcher. And then, he was gone. Really gone.**

It is SO hard to believe it has been a whole month since I’ve seen his smiling face or heard his corny jokes.  Its been a month since I could hug him and tell him I loved him. It has gone by too quick, and yet at the same time been too long. Oh to have moments like these again where he is smiling and cooing at my baby, blowing her kisses and tickling her with his feet. If only, if only we could have that time back. One day, I know I will see his smiling face again.

Rest in peace Pop.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Theresa
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 06:29:22

    Why oh why do I read these blogs prior to getting ready for work? I pray that you have a comforting day. Once again Becks; your writing is so beautiful, it brings me to tears.

    Reply

    • spunkysalymander
      Sep 19, 2011 @ 08:37:18

      hahaha, thank you. It really is crazy how time flies by. I dont think my grandmother even realizes its been that long. I was only reminded of it when the Hospice Social Worker called to see how “we” were doing. she was smart to not call my grandmother again, the last time she got yelled at haha. I hope I have a good day as well, I plan to CLEAN… as usual, BLEH!

      Reply

  2. Adrianna Valenti Wilson
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 08:44:52

    yea u make me cry too. thats not very nice!
    i love the naked lady comment tho and tattoo idea 😛

    Reply

  3. spunkysalymander
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 09:10:14

    well now, YOU I would expect to cry, you knew the man as long as you’ve known me. 😛 those are more than just words to you, you can actually hear his voice saying them. His face always lit up when I would give him updates on what you were up to, where you were living… he loved hearing about your travels. I remember sitting and showing him the 300 some odd pictures we took in Germany.

    Reply

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