Mom to the Left

I'm a mom who tends to live just to the "left" of most of the people around me here in Indiana.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My grandfather

Saturday, February 11, 2006 my grandfather was relieved of his burdens of this life (as my dad put it in his email to family and friends). Early that morning he received a call from the hospital where Poppaw was in the hospice unit. They said he'd suddenly taken a turn for the worse and could Dad get there soon? Unfortunately, it was only a few minutes later when the phone rang again to say that he was gone. The last several weeks had been a gradual shutting-down of his system. It wasn't a surprise. He hadn't been able to swallow any food or water for over a week and he'd left a clear living will stating he didn't want any form of life support. It was so hard on my dad. But it did give everyone a chance to say goodbye to him.

He was 78 years old. He leaves behind his wife of 62 years (wow!), 3 kids, 7 granchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. Tonight is the viewing and the funeral is tomorrow morning.

When I visited him in the hospital a week ago, I barely would have recognized him. His hair was white and touseled, his glasses were off, his upper teeth were out, he was struggling to breathe through an open mouth and his cheeks were sunken in. He lay in bed struggling to breathe and was barely aware we were even there. When my mother and I spoke he turned his head toward us so I know he heard us and knew we were there. It was my only clue. When I got home from the hospital I immediately began digging out boxes of pictures from my closet in an effort to find pictures of Poppaw the way I remember him. I couldn't (and still can't, really) get that image of him out of my head.

Tonight at the funeral home, I understand there will be a slideshow made of over 65 photos of Poppaw over his lifetime. I am really looking forward to that.

Rest in peace, Poppaw.