It’s been 5 days since Doug’s dad passed away, and I have been avoiding writing about it.
I have not been emotionally ready to sit down and do it. It’s too hard.
From my Twitter updates, you can get the sequence of events.
Earlier that day, I was at King Soopers, making a quick grocery run. I decided to listen to my voice mails, and immediately regretted it. As I listened to Georgiana’s anguished, emotion-laden voice telling me that things were not well with dad, I felt sick to my stomach, and nearly burst into tears in the produce section. That message was followed by one from Doug with the same news.
This was part of the ups and downs of the past month. Only a few weeks ago, a hospice nurse told us the end was “imminent” and that was followed by the best week Dad had since coming home from the hospital.
While Doug was preparing dinner, I was showering off the humidity of the day. It was a Tuesday, my girls night out. I was getting ready to head to the climbing gym to boulder and then meet the girls for drinks at Shuga’s.
He came into the bathroom while I was showering, and told me that Greg called and that Doug needed to come NOW.
I hopped out of the shower, and quickly dressed, and told him to go, and that I would finish getting the boys their dinner. He got the fish off the grill, and then headed over, promising to call me when he got there to let me know if I needed to come with the boys.
Zander asked where he was going, and Doug told him that he needed to check on Grandpa.
I finished preparing the boys’ dinner, and trying to keep my “everything’s fine, I’m not panicked” look on my face. I kept up the dinner chatter.
The phone rang, and it was my brother-in-law, Tom. “He’s gone.”
I immediately burst into tears. When I hung up with Tom, my phone rang again, this time it was Doug with the same news. I sobbed again.
When I finished that phone call, the boys were, of course, very concerned and asking me what was wrong.
I took a deep breath and sat down at the table with them. “I have some very sad news. Grandpa died.”
Zander first said, “I thought you were going to say that.”
Zevan immediately burst into tears, saying, “Who’s going to let us play video games?”
“Oh sweetie, Grandma will still let you play video games.”
Then Zander became very pragmatic, saying something about death being “something that happens to all living things.”
He even comforted me, since I was now unable to stop crying, with, “Don’t worry, Mom, you still have us. And Dad. And Grandma.”
I told him that I knew that, but that I was really going to miss Grandpa, and that made me feel very sad.
He then admitted that he was sad, too. Zevan had pretty much been glum the whole time. We all sat together, intertwined.
So, I gave them a choice. They could come with me to say goodbye to Grandpa, or they could go to my parents house while I went.
Zander immediately chose my parents house. Not only that, but he asked if he could sleep over there.
When I asked him why, he simply said, “I don’t want to see Grandpa dead.” Fair enough.
Zevan said he wanted to come with me. I asked him if he was sure. He said that he was sure.
Meanwhile, two girlfriends called about meeting up at Shuga’s. I reluctantly told them the news and that I wouldn’t be going out tonight. Although I sure could have used a drink.
So, I called my parents, broke the news to them and asked them if Zander could come over. They, of course, agreed. So we packed up an overnight bag for Zander and headed over.
As soon as we walked in the door, my mom came to me, arms outstretched, and I fell into them and sobbed. Hard.
And, again, while writing this, I feel like crying again.
We got Zander settled in, and then Zevan and I headed over to see Grandpa. When we got there, I think everyone was surprised to see Zevan with me. Grandma looked horrified when I told her that Zevan wanted to say goodbye to Grandpa, and said she didn’t think it was a good idea. Then gave a half-hearted, “Well, it’s up to you.”
So, Doug, Zevan and I went in to see Grandpa, with me carrying Zevan on my hip. Doug, Zevan and I hugged, and Doug started sobbing, holding us both.
The sheet was covering half of Grandpa’s face. He looked very pale, and just looked as though he was resting. Zevan looked at him curiously. I handed Zevan to Doug. I pulled the sheet back, and gave Doug’s dad a kiss on the forehead. It was so cold. Zevan watched me intently. We stayed there for a moment, then all headed back out.
Zevan seemed fine afterwards. He went upstairs to check the snack tin, that Grandma somehow remembered to fill for him, then immediately went to work on the Tinkertoys. We stayed for about an hour.
Then we headed back over to my parents’ house to spend the night there with Zander.
The past few days have gone by in a daze. Wednesday, Zander and Zevan went to their summer programs, and Thursday we went to playdate, Friday was Zander’s last day of class, and I got to visit the classroom and see what they’ve been doing for the past 3 weeks. Afterwards was our first visit to Grandma’s house since Grandpa passed. Zander corrected his “Grandma & Grandpa” to just “Grandma” and his “they” to “her.” Saturday my sister and Anderson came down and we had a family lunch. Zander played his first modified version of Dungeons and Dragons. Saturday night we went to a really fun pool party. Today the guys rode bikes while I ran. They played two sessions of D&D – once first thing this morning, and the other just before bed. And also had a video game session, where Zevan and I finished 2 more levels of Lego Star Wars – we only have one more to go!
I’m still feeling sad and numb and empty and short and confused by the loss in my heart. I don’t know what’s appropriate.
The memorial service will be on Thursday morning at 10 AM at the Shrine of Remembrance. Ashes will be spread at 9:00 AM (immediate family) and then there will be the service for extended family and friends.
Today Doug and I put the playlist for the service on my iPod.
We’re just taking it as it comes. I don’t how else to proceed…