Three years ago today, my grandfather passed away. Although he was 89 years old, it was unexpected. He had a series of strokes over a few days. After making the difficult decision to take him off life support our family stayed by his bedside for days. The man who led a long life overcoming military obstacles that killed many refused to give up. But truth be told, I think he waited for his sisters to come up from California and then waited to pass only after his great-grandson’s birthday had come and gone. He left us in the early morning hours of August 20, 2008. The hardest thing I’ve had to do so far in my life was lean down to my grandmother who was asleep with her head on his bed, holding his hand and tell her grandpa was gone. I will always be thankful to the nurses at Madigan for being so kind to turn off all of the monitoring alarms and allow me to let my grandmother, mom and aunt know in a more gentle way. I hate celebrating the anniversary of my grandfather’s death. People say the passage of time makes it easier. It’s a lie. The pain and loss are still very raw. I don’t think that will ever change. And I’m okay with that. If it were any different I think it would mean I was starting to forget or take him for granted. I can’t have that. So instead of being sad on this anniversary I try really hard to focus on how rich and full his life was.
For me, it is the only way to really remember and celebrate him.