goodbye, grandpa.

Last fall, my mom called and said my grandpa’s prostate cancer had spread to his back.  Chemo, weekly doctor’s appointments, labs, hospital stays, good days, and bad days followed.

Come spring there were times when we couldn’t believe just how well he seemed.  A month or so ago he ended up in the hospital due to what turned out to be 2 bleeding ulcers in his intestines that were easily fixed.  That’s what Theo thinks of when he thinks of Pappaw.

Huh?  I know.  My mom told me on the phone while I was in the car that grandpa had been throwing up some blood and that my grandma said it looked like coffee.  I explained to Ryan while Theo and Dexter sat quietly in the backseat.  I said it sounded bad and I thought we needed to get over there and visit ASAP.  When we got home, as I was getting them out of the car, Theo told me.  “We gotta go see Pappaw.  Make him feel better.  Pappaw don’t like coffee anymore.”  Theo repeats variations of those phrases all the time.

Pappaw’s sick, him’s not feeling good today.
I’m gonna see Pappaw and make him smile.
Make him feel better.
He don’t drink coffee anymore.
Pappaw don’t like coffee anymore.

2pm.  Yesterday.  We were driving through the town where they live so we stopped for a quick visit on our way to another get-together.  He’s been in the nursing home for two weeks, rehabbing.  He hasn’t had the strength to walk or pull himself up, so they were doing physical therapy with him.  He was supposed to go home this week.  We visited for 45 minutes or so.  He was lying down the whole time, seemed tired.  We left quickly, after Theo announced that he had pooped; we told him we’d see him at home next time.

6am.  Today.  My mom called, crying.  I knew before I answered the phone because there would be no other reason for her to call so early.  “Dad died,” she said through tears.

I can’t really remember what she said because I didn’t believe it.  Still don’t.  The whole conversation is a blur.  How could this be?  We just saw him yesterday.  Saw him. Talked to him.  Hugged him and told him we loved him.  Didn’t think he would die before we’d see him again.  Didn’t think my grandma would be a widow today.

I’m unbelievably grateful that we took the time to stop by.  I hope we made him feel a little better, made him smile.  I told Theo today that Pappaw passed away and he told me that he wants to see him again, wants to make him feel better.

I knew he wouldn’t understand but I felt like I owed him an explanation.  I did the best I could.

Pappaw don’t like coffee anymore.