Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Great Life, The Perfect Death

You may not think there is such a thing as a perfect death, but I believe there is. I will always be so grateful for this past Saturday.
My paternal grandfather, whom I am VERY close to, went from not looking so great when I visited last just before delivering, to dying, all in about a month and a half. He went from ambulatory to bedridden in a week. We were told his days were numbered, due to a non-operable mass on his lung, and I made it my mission to get Liam to his great-grandfather, as fast as possible. They thought Grandpa had 6 months to a year, but I was not taking any chances. In the meantime, I took a picture of Liam on a sign that said "I love you Great-Grandpa, I can't wait to meet you!" Had it blown up bigger so he could see it. My parents took it to him and he wouldn't put it down. He fell asleep holding Liam's picture. So, at Liam's last visit to the doctor on the 8th, I got permission to travel with Little Man. Friday, Liam met Grandpa B for the first time, but he was so out of it on Morphine, that it wasn't the best visit. Grandpa perked up at the sound of my voice, knew who I was, and looked at Liam, but it was not the introduction I had imagined for so many years. Grandpa B is the last blood grandparent for either Chris or I. It broke my heart that my Grandma M died before meeting my child, but at least she met other great-grandchildren. Liam is the only great-grand child on the "B" side. So Saturday we returned. Almost everyone was there, surrounding Grandpa with love and attention. All of my cousins but one, my brother, who almost NEVER can bear to be around people he loves when they are hurting, and all of Grandpa's sons except one. And he came Sunday. So in Liam and I walk and Grandpas eyes lock on Liam. Then he looks and me really long and back at Liam. He knew. He knew Liam was mine, and I was his. Later he reached out and grabbed a foot. He shook his head when I asked if he wanted to hold him. The oxygen mask made Grandpa's throat too dry to talk. Liam was so good. He never cried. Later, I set Liam down next to Grandpa and Grandpa reached out and rested his hand on Liam's head. Later still, Grandpa put his hands out, reaching towards Liam, wanting to hold him. And he held him, awake and content for quite some time, while Liam slept peacefully. We stayed for hours. When it was time to go, I kissed my grandpa and told him we would be back as soon as possible and that I loved him. Grandpa died just one day later. He met his great-grand son. He knew who we all were. He was surrounded by people who loved him. He was in the comfort of his own home. He was not hooked up to machines. He did not linger. He joined my Grandma B, who he missed and adored. I will always be thankful, for this visit. My tears are selfish, they are all for me because I miss him. But it was the perfect death, after a beautiful life.


Kate said...

That truly is beautiful. I am so glad that you have that priceless memory of your grandfather and Liam.

My family is preparing to lose my grandmother. I was hoping to give her a great-grand child before she left. While I am sad that won't happen, I am comforted by the thought that she will be welcomed into Heaven by our unborn child.

My prayers are with you and your family during this time of loss.

April said...

What a beautiful post.

My thoughts and prayers are with you right now.