Saturday, January 4, 2014

Another close loss

The first week of January has been a bit of a sad one for my family and I. Yes, I have been through almost more losses than I can count in my 23 years of life, but it doesn't stop them from happening. Life doesn't see that your still trying to work through the last 5, or more. Life doesn't give you a reprieve.

January second my grandpa Johnson passed away. We knew that it was coming for awhile now. On Christmas when we went to visit him he couldn't respond to us. We were able to talk to him, take pictures with him, and he ate lunch with us, but shortly after lunch he went to his room, they gave him some morphine and he went to sleep. I knew it was just a matter of time before we lost him.

One shouldn't be able to recognize the early stages of death so personally at 23 years old. But I saw it in my husband and unfortunately I see in it patients who come into the hospital and never leave. There are also times when I almost feel sensitized to death, and that feels all but right. I hear of someone passing away, such as my grandpa, and my body tenses up and flushes, my eyes fill with tears, my heart skips a beat. But that is only for a moment.

I hate how that has become my reaction to death. But I have seen so much of it that if I got hung up on what has been lost I don't know if I would be able to function.

It seems as if I have become excellent in realizing that what is, just is, and while it is sad and I will always, always miss him and have him in my heart, there isn't anything that I, or anyone, can do to change it. It is almost like a blessing that he has passed because he fought for such a long time with his cancer, seizures, lung problems, and etc. When I saw him at Christmas I just wanted him to let go because I knew that there wasn't any reason for him to stay with the way that his health was.

I know that things haven't really hit me. I went to work on Friday and had several people asking me, "Well why are you here?" "Why are you not at home?" "What are you doing here?!". I'm here because it's my job. I'm not at home because there isn't anything for me to help with. I am just simply working and keeping my mind busy. I also had a couple people come up to me and tell me what a great man he was and some memories and stories of him. All in past tense. A couple of times it took me off guard. What do you mean "he was" and "he did" "he fought". Oh, right. He's dead. That's all in the past now. It's just proof to me that I haven't quite thought about it.

I also was not all that close with my grandpa. We didn't have that type of a relationship. I remember him teasing me a lot as a kid, especially changing the channel to the weather while I was watching Barney! As an adult he always enjoyed seeing me, I know. He loved to talk about my car, gas mileage, mechanical things and fixing things. But I just don't remember a lot.

When I let myself think about it, I think I hurt the most for my dad. It's hard to know how to communicate with my dad as we have never had the heart-to-heart hugging type of relationship, but I know, I know that he's hurting. I think of the relationship that dad and grandpa had. Before grandpa went into the home my dad went up to his house nearly every single night to visit and spend time with him. Often times he spent more than an hour down there. They would also talk every single day, sometimes multiple times a day and it would be for hours at a time. Dad would complain a lot about how he kept him on the phone, but I think dad was just as guilty!

When grandpa got really sick with cancer my dad took him to doctors appointments and took him to get the treatment that he needed. He would stay away from home days at a time to be with grandpa at his treatments. He'd drop anything to help him. I saw my dad get very emotional when he talked about it and when grandpas health would again decline. My dad doesn't cry often, but going through all of that took it's toll on him.

And then when they had to put him into the home the nightly routine of phone calls continued. It continued even after grandpa had a very difficult time remembering how to work the phone and communicating. Eventually those nightly calls moved to a few times a week, once a week, and then eventually never. But dad still went up to the home to be with grandpa as often as he could, at least once a week and usually even more.

And then my dad was at grandpas side when he took his last breath. They got the call at 2am so my dad rushed over to be with him. I learned of all of this at work and shortly after talking to my mom we got the word that he was gone.

So yes, I know that what hurts for me the most is to know what my dad lost and it truly breaks my heart. They seemed to have a really, really good relationship and I hate that it's now over.

Monday is the funeral and I know that emotions will come rushing in, they do quite often at funerals. I suppose it will be then when I finally, truly realize that he is gone. But he's in a better place and not struggling anymore, just like we say with everyone else we've lost. But it's true, and it's the one comforting thing in the whole journey.

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