I found out today that my grandfather is dying. He had a cancerous lung removed several months ago. He was doing well. He felt better than he has for years. Last week they did a PET scan and he had cancerous spots on several organs. This week they did an MRI and he has two large tumors and spots all over his brain. He is deteriorating quickly.
I am torn. I am sad that he is dying, but I lost him long ago. I have already mourned him leaving my life. I feel guilty for not being more upset. I feel like a fool for "saying" that here.
I don't think it would have been as hard as it was for me, but my grandparents played a heavy hand in raising me. My grandmother babysat for kids and she watched me while my mother worked until I was 7. I was ALWAYS at their house. I would spend weekends camping with them in their camper. My grandmother refused to cook Monday through Fridays while she was babysitting, so they ate out every week night. I joined them more often than not. When my grandmother needed glasses when I was 8 she let me pick them out. She wore orange cat eye glasses with rhinestones. That's love! I was the only grand-daughter and the oldest, I was spoiled rotten!
My grandmother lost her sister, her dearest friend, when I was 21. When Aunt Velma died, part of my grandmother died. I swear she suffered a broken heart that very night. Two days after the funeral, my grandmother died in ICU and they brought her back. She was never well again. For 2 years she lived a pain-filled, miserable life. I was at the house at least one night a week for dinner. I was expected to be around for the both of them. They never found a cause for my grandmother's pain. (I believe to this day she had Lupus)
When she died my grandfather lost the love of his life (she was only 63) . He visited her grave EVERY morning. It almost became sickening. I was still very close to my grandfather and ate dinner with him often. If I did not stop by or call I was in trouble! About 3 years later he began dating a woman he knew that was married to a co-worker long ago. They immediately got close. He stopped calling. He stopped expecting me to be around. I pretty much lost all contact, it was like pulling teeth to get his attention. I was wounded. During this time was when we became foster parents for Dustin and he was difficult to deal with to say the least. Our relationship faded into oblivion.
I had my babies. I remember him holding Harrison at the kitchen table (where my grandparents spent all their time). I thought maybe our relationship would rebound. I was wrong.
I only see him at Christmas. He doesn't even remember my children's names. Oh my heart hurts to have to type that! He continually calls Harrison, Benjamin. I thought maybe he just had difficulty remembering things becuase he hasn't been as quick as he once was, but when he had his lung removed last spring and I sat all day at the hospital, I heard story after story of how he babysat for "B"s greatgrandkids. I heard tell of how he LOVED being with them and how they ADORED him. I found out that day he was an integral part of great-grandchildren's lives . . . and they weren't mine. When he came out of surgery he told me stories of the sweet little girl who called him pa-pa and begged to be with him and how he loved her beyond measure. I wept that night more tears than I care to recall. That little girl should be McCartney! What could I have done differently? If I hadn't been as busy or as bitter I could've made this end differntly. Or could I? I will never know.
He is still pretty close to my mom partly because she lives near "B"s house, where he currently lives, and partly because she is his oldest child. Last night she called and told me the grim prognosis and told me they had been at his house visiting. I really didn't feel grief. I am sad that this man is suffereing and from a disease that he fears more than anything. I am sad that my kids will never hear him call me Sheri Kay. I am sad they will never see the love he showed me in his sparkly eyes as a child. I am sad that they will never study the criss-cross wrinkles on the back of his neck while holding on tight to him as they ride his motorcycle through Johnny Appleseed Park. I am sad they will never pick kohlarabi and tomatoes and eat them while still standing in the garden. I am sad he will never teach them to get the prickles off cucumbers before picking them so they don't poke your hands. I miss him saying, "I love you Jeanne Ilene!" But I have already mourned the loss of my grandfather.
He died to me long ago. And I am afraid I died to him long ago as well.
Down to the River
16 hours ago