Okay, this is for ME. I need to get this off my chest so that I can be strong for my family today. I woke up with swollen eyes this morning, I am pretty sure I replayed this day in my dreams last night. It's going to be sad, and I need just a moment to dwell before I am positive for the rest of the day. Thanks...
A year ago I did not know what was in store for me. I went along with my daily routine, even had my brakes replaced. As I headed over to pick up my grandpa, a sadness was felt; I thought to myself as I pulled in his driveway, someday I wouldn't be doing this-picking my grandpa up to go to church together. I said a silent prayer to God to PLEASE let me do this for a long time, I wasn't ready to give up my time with him. Little did I know.
I went to the door, and it was locked. Papa ALWAYS left the door open for me on church days so that I could just come on in. I thought that was strange, but then thought I am a little late maybe he thought we weren't going today?? I rang the doorbell, called his house phone, no answer....I banged on the windows and walked around his house to the backyard. Every window was covered with curtains and I couldn't see in. I thought maybe he was in the shower, or the bathroom so panic did not set in right away.
After a good amount of time, I called my aunt. I did not have keys, could not get into the house, and wanted her to come let me in (she had a spare set of keys). I asked her not to panic, drive safe, and see her soon. In the meantime I called my dad-I wanted to prepare him to be strong for my mom...I was afraid my grandpa had fallen and needed my dad to be there for her. At this time, my mom couldn't drive b/c of surgery and we didn't allow my dad to drive after his accident. They were stuck at home-next call was to my brother to see if he was able to go get them if need be. In typical boy/brother fashion, he told me I was being paranoid and Papa probably was joking with me and to call when I got in the house.
Waiting for my aunt, I was pretty calm. I called Amanda, she kept me strong. Who knew I would lose it and go into shock when the neighbors pulled up-I have known them for so many years, and when they pulled into their driveway I fell apart. Buck and Shirley waited with me, outside the house, for my aunt. I knew what we were going to find out, but couldn't bear to say it. Looking in Buck's eyes, I knew what had happened. I called my brother, told him to go get my parents.
My aunt arrived, I ran to her. She dug out the keys and asked me to open the door. Couldn't get the darn keys to work, so between the two of us, we FINALLY got it open. I wish, wish, wish I could delete the following memory from my mind. Running into his house, Aunt Michelle yelling "dad, dad" and me "papa?"...and when we ran into the den my aunt let out the most heart breaking sound...she saw him before I did. I have never felt so heartbroken in my life.
Yes, Papa was at peace. He simply fell asleep as he started to read the morning paper. He didn't even get to drink his hot tea! The dishes in the sink told me that he ate breakfast, so I am glad for that. The moments that followed are such a blur. Making the phone calls, hearing the firetruck come, watching the firemen work on him, waiting for family, making more calls, and absolutely sobbing the entire time.
I often question why God had me be one of the ones to find him. I don't know why-I can't believe it was to make me a strong person. I didn't want to be the one to make the phone calls, to have to inform my sister of what happened, to watch my nieces come in the house with absolute fear. To watch my mom cry so hard, and see the upset in my dad's eyes. I just cannot believe this all happened.
I try not to think about this. It's an image I don't want to remember. I want to think of my grandpa in his true form, smiling and laughing. When my grandma passed away, over five years ago, I was there when it happened. Her passing was a little more expected; she was in hospice and we were told she didn't have long. I was able to say goodbye to her, talk to her, and watch her last breath.
Please, God, give me the strength to continue to be strong. Being in their house is an honor, and I don't regret ever living here...but I do regret not getting to thank Papa one last time for being him.