Monday, April 6, 2009

Beginnings and Endings

My Grandfather died today. Two and a half weeks ago it was his 85th birthday, and the day Brayden was born. When my mom called to tell my grandparents the news of their newest great-grandson being born on Grandpa's birthday, my grandpa was in the hospital (he was released a few days later, although his condition was still weak). My grandmother said he was so excited to know that Brayden was born on his birthday. Because his health is so bad, my grandfather rarely speaks or even seems to be in touch with reality, but that day the news of his great-grandson's birth touched him enough to say something. He continued to talk about it the rest of the day. My grandmother told me that it was actually one of the last things he spoke of. Shortly after he was released from the hospital and my grandmother took him home to care for him, he stopped speaking and seemed to fade away mentally just as was his health physically. Today is my grandmother's birthday--my grandfather died just before noon in the ambulance on the way back to the hospital. For five years he has been battling disintegrating health brought on by a massive stroke. It's amazing he has made it this long. My grandmother has sacrificed everything to care for him these past five years.

My sister Melody and brother Brandon live near my grandparents and were able to be there for immediate support to my grandmother today. I'll include Melody's post about the experience:

This is the closest I have been to death. My Grandfather died today. He has been sick for a long time and my grandmother worked hard to keep him alive. The guy had nine lives.At 11:43 this morning I got an email from my aunt announcing his death. I called my mom thinking should would need comforting at a time like this, but when she answered the phone, her cheery voice let me know she did not know the news. I broke the news to my mother that her father passed away. I don't know if she thought I was joking or if she needed to hear it twice, but she said to me, "Melody, did my father die?" She was driving to work on the freeway and needed to pull over. I then called my brother Brandon, surely he knew seeing it as he lives with my grandma and grandpa, but he had been out and did not get the email. Therefore, I told him what happened. We then went over to the hospital. My grandfather was in the ER that is where he was rushed earlier this morning when he was having trouble breathing. When we were let in the Chaplin asked us how much we knew about my grandfather's condition. It was interesting because she was trying to find out if she needed to break the news of his death to us. I told her we knew he passed, and she walked us down to the curtained off room he was in. Before we entered, she warned us that he didn't look very good, and that the doctors did all they could to revive him, but that he died in the ambulance on the way over. When the curtain was parted I saw my little grandmother hunched over her husband's body. Her arms were wrapped around his head and she was talking on the phone to my mother. I don't know if I will forget how my grandfather looked. He was white, his mouth gaped open, one eye closed and the other half open, as if he was winking, and his frail body nearly disappeared under the white sheets--a far cry from the tall, large, fun loving man he once was.My grandmother kept thinking she saw him moving--first she thought he was breathing, then his lip quivering, and then she thought she saw his eyelash move. It was hard to watch her cry over her loss. She told him she loved him constantly. They knew each other for 70 years. Brandon and I sat with her at first, and then her oldest daughter Pam came. We sat with him until they kicked us out at 2:30. He died on my grandmother's birthday. He was 85 years old.
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Bren said...

Oh Amber, I am so sorry about your Grandpa! How special that Brayden was born on his birthday; you both will cherish that in the years to come.
Love ya and miss you!

Lois Brown said...

Amber, I am so sorry for you loss! My prayers and thoughts will be with you. That is wonderful that Brayden was born on his birthday it will be a special remembrance every year you celebrate Brayden's birthday! Let me know if there is anything you need or anything I can do!

Stacy said...

I am sorry for your loss, Amber. Our prayers are with your family as they struggle through these feelings of loss and sorrow. We love you guys so much.

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"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. "

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