You may remember about a month ago I gave myself (and maybe anyone else who read it and is/was going through something similar) a pep talk about navigating through the upcoming death of a loved one. Well, I, unfortunately, along with my family, am there. I’m glad it’s something I’ve been prepping for mentally, because it is so hard!
Wednesday, May 20th, was a beautiful sunny day, albeit a bit crisp in the breeze. I had taken A.W. to visit Pop Tuesday morning, the day before, my usual, after dropping my oldest off to school. He didn’t look good at all.
I told him I’d really, really like him to come over for Memorial Day. He gave me a side-eye like I was half-crazy.
I got the call Wednesday morning that he was quote, unquote: passing over. I had both kids with me and wasn’t sure I wanted to bring A.S., as she’s terrified of the nursing-home strangers that LOVE little kids.
Though I knew in my heart I had already said my goodbyes; love, fear, respect, empathy, and maybe even a little guilt drove me there on Wednesday morning for a final visit. (I had to bribe A.S. with a cookie to get her in the car.)
I should add here that this will be my third experience of death with an elderly person that I was very friendly with in the last five years. My M.O. has always been the same – let out all of my feelings, put it all on the table, to the person before they are non-responsive. And then I don’t go up to the casket at the funeral; I don’t stay with them as they are passing. That is really, really hard for me. I try my best to envision them healthy, young, and vivacious.
I had told him on my last Friday visit that I knew he hadn’t been well for a long time and that he was showing me in every way possible that he wanted to go. I told him I understand it and accept it and support him in any and everything he wants now and that I would/will be okay.
On Wednesday morning, my family members and I piled around his bed and talked and sat and talked some more. It wasn’t the usual time I’d have with him when I would go alone to visit, but I’m very glad I went.
I knew that I couldn’t go home and just wait to hear the news, so we met up with some friends and spent the afternoon at the park. I feel like I attempted, and pulled off, a relatively normal day for the kids.
That afternoon, I got the call I had known was coming but could never imagine being real.
I’m sad – really sad. But I’m also happy for him. No more pain; no more crappy nursing homes. Just peace.
And now for me, I need to make a new routine. Routine is the part that gets me every time. The first few days are brutal.
In a normal week, I’d be with Pop every Tuesday and Thursday morning and then again every Friday night.
It will get easier, I know.
And you know that I’m not big on posting pictures of myself (unless they’re crazy or funny, because I’m weird like that!). But just for me, because it feels good to see us in happier times, are some pictures of us over the years.
What a cool, out-of-control, funny, down-to-earth oldie he was!
I have decided, to ease my transition of getting used to this, that I will be going on Tuesday morning to Pop’s old room. I hope to sit and visit with his roommate. I think it will be good for both of us. I want to thank him for being so good to my Pop.
For me, this reiterates to never leave words unsaid when the time comes. Actions speak louder than words 99% of the time. But whenever I am faced with upcoming death, I have learned to leave no words unsaid, ever. Love can be assumed, but it’s so much more comforting when all is on the table.
I genuinely appreciate each and every one of your condolences; but if you don’t want me to have a horrific sobbing session out in public, please don’t bring this topic up to me in person. I’m just not ready yet. I’ll be okay, just not today.