March 27, 2009

Bittersweet Goodbye

I finally finished my nursing orientation yesterday. I know it had only lasted a few weeks, but it seemed like months. I think I have ADD or something because as of late, I have had a hard time sitting still and listening to people talk. Maybe it's nursing school flashbacks, I don't know, but sometimes I get so restless I just want to jump out of my seat and shout "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!" But I didn't. ;)

As you may know, my grandfather passed away Wednesday. He had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer and hospice had taken over his care. It is always sad when someone dies, but I am relieved for my grandmother who won't bare the burden of stress and worry anymore. She is getting old and I was worried that his illness would age her even more and possibly bring down her own health, which has been superb thus far, thankfully.

My grandfather's passing is bittersweet for my family. It is never good to speak ill of the deceased, however, I will say that he was not nice a nice man to my grandmother. Putting it bluntly, he berated her, demeaned her and caused her grief for 40 plus years. Every day of her life. She never got a moments peace with the man. My grandmother is the closest thing I know to a saint, so this was very hard for everyone to endure. She is the sweetest, most thoughtful, kindest, funniest, selfless person I have ever known! She means so much to me and I love her fiercely, as does everyone who knows her. I have had to give my grandfather a rightful set down many times because of his treatment to my mamaw, thankfully he listened to me. ;) For some reason, he liked me and he didn't like many people. Probably because I was one of the only grandchildren that tolerated him, as bad as that sounds. As I said...he was hateful, but despite all of that, he did have some good qualities.

My grandpa was very close to my twins and loved all of the grandchildren a lot. If anything, he was a good grandpa. I will give him credit for that. Also, he always greeted us with a smile. I'll never forget that after we'd visited for hours and were ready to leave, he would always say "What's your hurry?" lol. Despite all of his faults, I did have a soft spot for him because of how much he loved my boys and because of that I will forgive him for all he has done and let him rest in peace. I always appreciated his treatment to the boys, no one could ever say he didn't love them. He did everything for them.

When I visited him the other day, he was slightly coherent. He laid in his bedroom, which was turned into a hospital room. He was saying something to me and I could barely understand him, so I leaned down to hear him better and he hugged my neck and gave me kisses on my cheek, which he always did. He told me of a dream he had and said that he was flying around in the sky. That gave me a few chills up my spine. I helped my grandmother change him because in the last month he had become incontinent. His body was frail, he could barely move, barely speak, yet he still complained. Same old papaw :) I also got him to take his medication because he wouldn't take any for my grandmother. I just held them up to his mouth and said "Open up and take these!". LOL And so he did, then he smiled and winked at me. As always, he was playing games and being facetious, right up until the end. Stubborn old coot! :)

He kept talking to me and talking to my boys. He always called my twins his 'little farm boys" and referred to them this way again. I would never let anyone see, but my eyes did water and I did get a little choked up. It's really difficult because I have watched him hurt my grandmother time after time my whole life, yet he is still my 'papaw', even if he was meaner than a snake. If I ever needed him he was always there, and especially for my twins. They were his favorite and he treated them like gold. As we said goodbye, he kissed me and I told him I loved him, which I rarely did. It was hard finding tender feelings for someone who was often so cruel, but I managed it and I actually meant it too. I knew when I left it would be the last time I would see him. I looked at him lying in the bed and he looked so small and much less threatening than he'd ever looked. I said 'bye papaw' and waved and he waved back. It was at that moment, that I had forgiven him for everything he'd ever done to her. I have always said I would never forgive him, for right up until the very end, even as she was caring for his sick body, he would curse her, but I can't hold on to that anymore. If she can forgive him, then so can I. She told me that no matter what he did or said to her she would not stoop to that level and she would do what God would expect of her. Like I said, she is a saint. She has definitely earned her wings.

Telling my boys the news was a difficult conversation to have. I don't think it will set in until they see him in the funeral home. I am dreading it. I hate to see them hurt. He was their papaw, the only one they have ever known. My grandmother told me this morning he requested my twins picture be buried with him. I was not surprised my this. People always laughed because he had an old green and white cap that he would wear with their photo printed on it. It looked ridiculous, but he was so proud of them. :) The thought of him wanting Christian and Colton's photo in his casket had me choked up again. They are going to miss him very much and I must admit, it definitely won't be the same without him around. He was never boring, that's for sure. ;)

I'll always remember him recounting old war stories, telling funny jokes, being silly and sticking his false teeth out to make the little ones laugh, but more often cry with fear. LOL However awful he sometimes was, he was still my papaw and I am going to miss him sitting in his chair on the front porch awaiting our visits. All that being said....I forgive you Papaw. The boys will miss you and never forget you. May you rest in peace.



KLS said...

Definitely bittersweet. I know how you feel, as I saw the same thing with my FiL and how he treated my MiL in the years I knew them before she passed away. He has thankfully changed since, and treats his lady friend very nicely. He's the same age as your grandfather was.

Christy said...

Yea, it's a shame he wouldn't just treat her with respect, but maybe now she will have some peace.