Monday, June 22, 2009

I'll never forget yesterday.

Father's Day. After waking up on the hard, hot floor at my parents' house, I trudged the hard, hot quarter mile to the octagon-shaped house on the hill. Easing the door open, I heard joking and laughter. Aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings were gathered around my Grandparents' large kitchen table. Beyond them, pushed against the large sliding glass door, was a hospital bed. The oxygen machine pumping breath into my Grandfather was still purring. He made it through the night, I thought, and shut the door behind me.

The stool next to his bed sighed as I lowered myself onto it. I reached for my Grandfather's hand. It's Brin, I said. Happy Father's Day.

He's on morphine, someone said from the table. He isn't responsive today.

But that didn't stop us from talking to him. Or singing to him. Or telling him jokes or reading to him. At one point I saw my mother draw the stool close and, speaking softly, read from a Father's Day card she pulled from her purse. I love you, Dad, I heard her whisper, and her tears made wet stains on his pillow. That's the last Father's Day card my Mom will ever buy, I thought. My eyes welled with hot tears.

We planned the funeral service, considering favorite songs and Scriptures. My Grandmother copied down the order of service, pausing to ask me to write my Grandfather's obituary. I'd be honored, I said. My mind skipped back through difficult writing assignments: papers for my law degree... stories I'd written as a reporter... my divorce paperwork. This will be the most difficult thing you've ever written, I thought.

Evening came, and stars shone through the sliding glass door behind my Grandfather's bed. My aunts twisted the floor-to-ceiling vertical blinds, shutting out the night. I still have towels to take off the clothesline, my Grandmother said. I volunteered.

The night was still warm, and from somewhere in the darkness, tree frogs sang to the stars. I walked the back porch, pausing at the glass that separated me from my Grandfather. Peering between the slats in the blind, I saw my own father sitting by the bed. He embraced Jack, murmuring something I couldn't make out, and began to cry. As I watched his back rock with sobs, I was surprised to hear another crying. It was me. For twenty minutes, I pressed my forehead to the glass and watched and cried as my father, and later my father and mother, said goodbye.

I'm sure I will never forget yesterday....

36 comments:

Debe said...

Missing someone we lose through death is so hard for us. Having loved someone your whole life and finding yourself without them tears you up even though you know they have passed into truly blessed arms. As one of your fan club, my hearts aches for all of your wonderful family who will miss him. Hugs.

jen said...

I was extremely close to my grandmother and consider holding her hand while she died one of the greatest priviledges of my life. It was heartbreakingly beautiful.

Old Centennial Farmhouse said...

I am sorry for your loss but at the same time, happy that your family had the time to say their goodbyes: that is a blessing that some don't have. Your grandfather sounds like a much-loved patriarch and your heritage is rich with his love that will span into future generations.
((HUGS))
Joni

Susan said...

Such a beautifully written and touching post. How wonderful to say goodbye surrounded with so much love. Thinking of you and Miss Millie
xo Susan & Miss Dixon

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

You are blessed, I never knew any of my grandparents. You will do your grandfather and family proud by writing the obiturary, no one else could find the right words...Hugs!!

Vee said...

That you are able to observe and record these events is a rich blessing. Once someone told me that this waiting for death is much like waiting for birth. May you all know the peace of the Lord and know comfort, too, when you remember how many are praying for your precious family. It will be bittersweet to see your grandfather safely home...

Evelyn in Canada said...

Surrounding by the people who love you -- that has to be the best way to die. Enjoy reliving the memories as you write this obituary. It's so obvious that you love your grandfather and that will certainly show through your words.

Karen Deborah said...

This is so precious. It is an incredible gift to give a loved one a going home like this. Dying at home can be beautiful, not that it isn't hard. Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal. I am praying for you all.

Sandi said...

My heart goes out to you Brin. I can't even imagine how you must feel. I often think I could not go on if one of my parents passed away, but I do know that God gives grace for the moment. What a loved man your grandfather is and I am sure he knows that. Praying for Gods comfort as you pass through this time.
Hugs~

Patty said...

You know I can relate to what your mother had to do yesterday. It was 3 yrs. ago Mother's Day that I gave my mother the last Mother's Day card I would ever buy for her. Two days after that she passed away at 2:16 a.m. I know how hard it is to let go right after you have honored them. Just remember he is in a better place. A place that is paved with gold and happiness. No abuse, no hatefulness, just love!!
Praying for your family as they go thru this hard times. And praying for healings.

Sissy said...

Thinking of you and sending hugs.

Carolyn (Harbor Hon) said...

My heart goes out to you and your family as Jack (your Grandad) makes his way home to God. It's nice that you get to spend time with him and say your goodbyes.

I was just waking up when I saw in my mind's eye my Mother running. She hadn't run in years and I knew when the phone rang that she was gone. I wrote both her and my father's obituaries when they passed. I thought it would be hard, but believe me you'll know exactly what to write because it will come from deep within your heart. It'll be happy and sad at the same time, but it will be brilliant.

Sending you a Big Hug and a God Bless, dear girl. xxoo

patientmom said...

My heart cries with you as you say goodbye to your precious grandfather. Parting this life is indeed bitter sweet.

I am so happy to hear that you are home with them...leaving the farmhouse and Henrybella's behind for another day, they will be there ~or not~ but this is certain, you will never regret these precious moments together at the brink of your Grandfather's homegoing.

You are blessed on so many levels...

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face...and the things of earth will grow strangly dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

Treasure every moment, capture every thought, you will never forget these days!

I pray Peace to your heart and Comfort to your soul.

Kellie said...

My grandmother died in September and it was the biggest loss of my life so far. Being a former reporter, I was also asked by my family to write her obituary. It was cathartic and a blessing and I felt extremely honored to be able to do that for myself, my family and to honor her memory.

I'm so sorry for your loss and hope your family finds peace like your grandfather now has.

Leigh Ann said...

Praying for you all. The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Leigh Ann

Rebecca said...

((((Brin)))) I am so sorry. But being there with your grandfather as he passes from this life to the next is a special time, even though it is painful. I think to be able to care for a loved one as they pass, to be there with them at that time, is a deeply spiritual experience. Its painful, its hard, it hurts. But its a precious gift we give that we can be there with them. Love to you.

Jenn said...

I am so sorry to you have to miss him already. But Brin soon and very soon we are going to see the King! He has the unique priviledge of going before you to prepare the way. Blessings Brin to you and your family!

Elenka said...

Oh, Brin..........

Victoria said...

What a beautiful memory you all will have of your last Father's Day together with your Grandfather.

My heart breaks for you and your family.

Jen said...

Peace for you and your family.

Joy said...

Brin, thankyou for giving the Christian perspective on death--- it makes a huge difference when we know that a loved one will be in the presence of the Lord for eternity. In the sadness of death, you will expierence a wonderful peace and joy.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

He is the God of all comfort and therein lies our certain hope. Peace to you and your family.

Deb said...

My heart breaks for you, dear Brin. But, being fortunate enough to get glimpses into your life, I must say that you have a tremendous gift of taking tragedy and molding it into something beautiful.

May God enfold and comfort you, and may you always keep your eyes on Him.

Katy said...

Oh Brin I'm so sorry. I will be praying for you and your family and your grandfather. I remember how hard I felt it was writing my own Grandfather's obituary - but I'm sure you will do wonderfully.

Jess said...

What an astoundingly beautiful post Brin....I couldn't quit thinking about it all evening.

Sue said...

What a tribute to your grandfather. Despite the medication, I am sure he was aware and heard more than you know. I sat holding the hand of my best friend at her death. She heard things people did not know she had. I pray for the Great Comforter to hold you and your family close as you share this end and this beginning.

Howdy! I'm Ruth Ann said...

Bless you Brin...praying for God's comfort to surround you and your family...and for strength.
Hugs honey,
Ruthann

RusticOkie said...

My prayers are with you.

fairmaiden said...

tears...there is beauty even in this...love is beautiful...loving each other deeply...beauty.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

So hard. Nearly 2 years ago my father-in-law of 38 years lay dying. All of us gathered around his bed, talking to him. He was on morphine, too, and we were told he did not know we were there. I still don't believe that. I felt that he did. Passing is a natural thing, one that people of faith can--in some ways--look forward to. But, still, it is hard. Thanks for sharing your sweet heart. - C

judy in ky said...

I still feel a twinge when I see the Father's Day cards for sale. "I don't have a father anymore", I think. But my mom is remarried to a wonderful, kind, fatherly man, so now i look for a card for him.

Kristie said...

You and your family have been on my mind for days. Sending hugs!!

kate g said...

Praying for you...and your family. Sending you love on the winds...

(new blog reader)
-kate

Lisa said...

Prayers for you and your family Brin.

betty r said...

So sad..I am touched by this post, Brin.

Adrienne said...

Oh, Brin, I have just found you again after a long time away. I'm catching up and this post called to me to post a comment. I so know the pain you felt and the hard process of saying goodbye. My dear father went to be with Jesus over 6 years ago and it was the hardest thing I've ever done. Saying goodbye but I'll see you soon in that glorious place where Jesus is the Light! Your words touched me deeply. Yes, your dear grandfather could hear the songs, the words of the Father's Day card, the goodbyes and all the laughter and fun his dear ones had nearby. He just couldn't tell you he heard it but it meant much to him, I'm sure. Thank you for being transparent and for sharing your heart and your soul with us. It gives cause to consider deeply what is really important!
~Adrienne~