My grampa’s death

My grampa died on this date, 12 years ago.

About three months after we discovered the tumors in my son’s head, my grampa was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

This was out of nowhere. He didn’t smoke or live with a smoker. He was a watercolor artist.

The doctor told him he had about a year to live. It was March.

I came by the house sometime that spring and found him repaving the driveway. I sat in my car for a second shaking my head that he would spend his remaining time doing this.

I must have had a face, because he pointed to it when I approached and said there was a crack.

I thought, ‘What did he care?’

It later occurred to me he didn’t want my grama to have to deal with it.

Everybody handled his impending death differently.

He didn’t have the fighting spirit my mom wanted him to have, but he was cooperative. He drank the tea she gave him.

Nana took him for a weeklong camp with Deepak Chopra.

Then one morning in July my grama got up and went to the bathroom. She hurried, as always, to get back to the bedroom before my grampa beat her to making the bed.

She found the bed unmade. With a peek into the family room she could see he had fallen back to sleep in his recliner. She smiled at that. She made the bed.

Then she did her face and hair.

When she went to him, he had his hand on his chest, and he wasn’t breathing.

He was warm.

She calmly called 911, and then my mom. She says his spirit embraced her. I believe this. She’s never done anything calmly.

She knew it was over.

We realized in the aftermath they hadn’t believed the doctor. There were no plans, except to go on a cruise. They had tickets on a ship that left the day of his funeral.

Nana even discovered afterward there was a mix up with their life insurance, and they weren’t covered.

We all jumped in and helped with arrangements for the body, the service, Nana on her own.

I wrote and delivered the eulogy.

People asked, how could I do that?

How could I not? I had too much to say.

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4 Responses to “My grampa’s death”

  1. roberto Says:

    Thanks for this post.

  2. gunky Says:

    my maternal gramma died quickly, unexpectedly, also in her recliner.

    a couple of years ago i watched as my paternal grandmother slowly succumbed to her cancer.

    if i could choose, i’d like to go the way of the chair.

  3. T. Says:

    we can give a new meaning to ‘getting the chair.’

  4. Kevin Says:

    “How could I not? I had too much to say.”

    I know that feeling all too well. I wrote a eulogy for my mother for the same reason. My Dad asked me to speak at the funeral not long after she died, and I though he was insane. I couldn’t even think about her without being reduced to tears. After a few days, though, I realized I had many things to say and there was no more appropriate time to say them. You can read it on my home page.

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