Oh how bittersweet this Christmas was. My Grandpa has gotten worse and worse and an alarming rate. They decided not to start him on chemo; instead they decided to start with hospice, and hope that he can die with as little pain as possible.
On Saturday my Dad celebrated his 53rd birthday, and invited a large party to his house. It was great fun until my mom’s ex-friend H showed up. I didn’t know how to act, what to say, and just felt really uncomfortable about the entire situation. I ended up saying hello, and escaping to the basement for most of the evening.
On Christmas Eve my Grandpa felt he was going to die soon, and was asking for people. I found it very touching when he reached for my hand and wanted to hold it and talk about my “beautiful wedding in Yosemite.” He told E that is was part of the family now, and asked how my Grandma will be, when is his gone. He asked about his dog Willow, and his best friend Morice. We invited everyone that was close to him over, and each said our goodbyes. Morice sat next to him, and they reminisced and laughed, cried and hugged. We decided to call our family in London, and told them to come quickly, Grandpa might not make it another 24 hours, so they booked a plane the last minute on Christmas Eve.
That night was quite and somber. Each year we have a huge Christmas Eve party at my Grandma’s, and this year my Grandpa wanted it to be something special, because it would be his last. But, alas, he was confused and agitated, so we decided to have the party at my house. My Grandma stayed home to attend to my Grandpa, so the night was quite different than the tradition I have loved my entire life.
I fell asleep on Christmas Eve hoping that my Grandpa would live another day, and be able to see his son who was trying to get home from London as quickly as possible.
Christmas was wonderful, it really was. After a special breakfast at home, E and I went to his family’s house where they showered us both with wonderful, thoughtful gifts that were more than any daughter-in-law could ask for. (I got a Kit doll, a Gap gift card, beautiful doll clothes, and so much more!)
Then E and I went to my Dad’s. It was sad to remember just a year earlier how many things were different. My parent’s were still together in my childhood home for Christmas, I was unmarried and still spending Christmas morning with my family, and E with his, and my Grandpa was healthy and happy, and there was no illness in sight.
My dad’s house was fine, and the gifts were thoughtful and caring. We next stopped at my grandparents and saw how much my Grandpa had declined in just one day. He wasn’t able to stand, speak, or eat. My Grandma said the only way she was keeping sane was not thinking that it was Christmas, and keeping up hope that he would live to see my uncle.
Next we went to my Mom’s where we had a nice time opening presents (Ann Taylor gift card, belt, PJs, and a beautiful set of candles my sister made), and visiting with a very small portion of my family before my Mom had to head to the airport to pick up my Aunt and Uncle that made it not a moment too late.
E and I went back to his family’s, and just had a nice time enjoying each other’s company.
As of today my Grandpa is still not doing well, and the hospice nurse’s think he’ll be gone by week end. I can’t believe this is the same man that did all the flowers for my wedding only six months ago. In a way, I’m thankful it’s going so quickly, because it is devastating to see him in such pain.
May I have a happy new year, I’m looking forward to more good than bad in 2007.