This week's Spin Cycle brought to you by Gretchen at Second Blooming is on remembering someone you lost. "In Memoriam" As soon as I saw the topic, I knew...this was going to be a tough one. And I'm not going to lie, this is terribly hard for me to write.
The other day, not sure why, I read through some of my older blog posts from last year. I wanted to read some of the thoughts I had on my pregnancy at the time, but there was a more noticeable trend in my writing. It focused on my Grandpa George. He had been sick for so long. It was such a painful process watching him slowly die and be in such pain. It was just the worst thing to watch this once proud, full of life man turn into a shell of his former self, watch him quickly wither away, forgetting things that were once so important to him, not caring to continue on, wanting nothing more in the world than to be reunited with my Grandma in heaven and wondering why God just wouldn't call him home. I struggled for the longest time with that feeling. The anger and the resentment built up in me - why would God do this? Just take him already, I thought. Stop making this so hard on him and my Mom and aunts and uncles who were his caretakers towards the end.
I wanted to cry as I read those posts. I didn't. And I'm hoping I can remain strong over the next few weeks because this November 15th it will be one year since he finally found that peace he deserved for so long. I have no doubt in this world he is in heaven. Shortly after he died, I had a dream with both him and my Grandma in it, together. Catholics believe in purgatory and believe that we must pray for the ones we lose so that they do go to heaven. I believe the suffering and anguish he went through towards the end was his purgatory. He is in heaven. Watching over all of us.
I remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember that time so vividly. The last time I saw him alive was when the entire family united for one last reunion with him. I held his hand as he cried and said "why can't I just be with Peggy (my Grandma)?" I told through my own tears that he would be soon and that she was preparing for his homecoming. I couldn't see him after July 30th, when we had that last get together after a very difficult personal decision. I felt I had to put my health and the health of my baby first. With how hard my pregnancy was going, my high blood pressure, I knew he wouldn't want me to put myself and the baby through that stress. So I had to come to terms with that being the last time I hugged him and said "I'm so glad I got to see you, Grandpa." I remember how thin he was when I hugged him tight. I felt like if I squeezed too hard, I'd break him. He just wasn't the Grandpa I always knew.
I remember the day I got that phone call. T went with me to one of our biweekly cardiologist appointments, and we had just gotten home and I was resting. I have special ring tones for my family members, and I knew my Mom was on her way to stay in Terre Haute until he passed. And then my phone rang shortly before noon. It was my Dad's ring tone. T was out of the room at the time, but he still said he knew immediately what it was as soon as that phone rang. My heart sank, and my hands shook as I answered. My Dad, through tears, told me Grandpa had passed, just twenty minutes before my Mom made it there to say good-bye. I was so conflicted. I felt a weight lift off of me, but then I just broke down. He was gone. It couldn't be possible. I was just a zombie the rest of that day, unsure what to feel. Being eight months pregnant at the time, I had to deal with it the best I could and take care of myself at the same time.
Aubrey's actual due date was his birthday. February 22nd. She was born a week ahead of time, but it wasn't lost on me one bit that she shared that day with him. I believe it was more than just a coincidence that happened to be her due date. It was like it was meant to be. I tell her all the time how much Grandpa George would have loved her. I have no doubt he does.
A day doesn't go by that I don't miss him, that I don't look at the picture up above that I have framed in our living room and wish he were still with us. But I know he's happy and at peace. He's with the love of his life.
I've shared this with all of you before, but we used to have this thing. He started it. When I'd hug him good bye, he'd so "Alaina, I'm so glad you got to see me." We'd laugh because of how silly it was. As I got older, I'd try to beat him to it. "Grandpa, I'm just so glad you got to see me." To the end, I still said it to him. I'm not sure if he remembered towards the end, but he always smiled so I like to think he did. But it's more than that. I'm so glad I got to see him. I'm so glad I got to know him. I love him, and I miss him more than he'll ever know.
God bless you, Grandpa. I love you, and I'm sure glad I got to see you.
Hopefully other Spinners won't have written a novel like this, and so stop by Gretchen's blog to see what they have to say. I think it goes without saying, but today...I'm thankful for my Grandpa. Every single day I got to spend with him.