Saying Goodbye (for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop)

Writing Prompt: Who was the last person to call you? Why?

Although I had been waiting for that phone call, and I had been preparing myself for my grandfather’s death since last weekend, when my husband came upstairs with the phone as I was walking in the door from work, I found myself unprepared.

“It’s your mom. I think it’s your grandpa,” were my husband’s words.

“Shannon…” My mom fought through tears. “Dad passed away…At quarter after 2.”

My grandfather passed away yesterday. He lived a long life – he would have been 98 next month – and a blessed life. He had 7 children, all of whom were constantly by his bedside, as well as many grandchildren, and even more great-grandchildren. And unlike many, he had the opportunity to say goodbye. Last weekend the family was called, and my grandpa spent the Saturday with them, saying goodbye, and telling them he missed their mother. My grandmother passed away in October of 2012. Grandpa was ready to go. Selfishly, I didn’t want him to go. My grandparents were the best grandparents I could have ever asked for. And because my other grandparents passed away when I was very young, these were really the only ones I had. They were always there for me. They were the ones who took care of me when I was sick and my parents had to work. They were the ones who had me over for lunch every single school day when I was in grade 7 and grade 8 because they lived across the street from my school. They were there for plays, graduations, wedding celebrations, and baby showers. When I ran away from home as a teenager (for a few days – don’t ask), guess where I went? Yes. I went to my grandparents’ house. Needless to say, I had a special relationship with them, and I was extremely close with them. I had regular phone conversations with my grandmother, and sometimes with my grandpa who wasn’t as chatty as my grandma (I take after her in that way, and in many others!). My grandfather had a stroke when I was pregnant with my 7 year old son, and so since then it hadn’t been easy having conversations with him. He mostly just said, “Amen!” and “My little honeybun!”. But he always had a smile on his face. And even as he lay in his bed dying, weak and unable to eat or drink, my grandfather was still smiling. Thankfully I had my chance to say goodbye to him last Wednesday, when I went to visit. I knew there was not much time left to be with him. I wanted to tell him how wonderful he was as a grandfather. I don’t think I ever did that before. I wanted to tell him how much I love him. I wanted to hold his hand. I wanted to tell him I was there. And I did. I got that chance. It doesn’t make losing him any easier. It doesn’t make me less sad. But it was something. I didn’t get that chance with my grandma. And it kills me every day. Today I choose to remember my grandpa and grandma as they were for most of my life: happy and smiling, loving, and healthy, like they are in the picture below. I love you both. Thank you for all you did for me and all you mean to me.

grandparentsandme

reception

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