Grief--My True Story of the Death of My Grandfather and How I was able to Cope
Losing My Grandfather, My Best Friend
It was February 14, 1999 and I wasn't even 22 years old yet. The day started like any other day, but by the end of this day, I would forever be changed and lose the first person I was so very close to in my life, my grandfather. It was Valentine's Day too and the irony of losing my very, First Valentine would not go unnoticed.
Two weeks earlier my grandfather, the man that helped raise me had fallen and broken his hip. He was in his 80's and was having problems with his kidneys even before the fall and the broken hip. The doctors had told him from his kidney problems that he would most likely have to go on dialysis in the next 6 months or so. So when he fell, it seemed to only acerbate his kidney issues. He was admitted into the hospital and normally they would perform surgery for a broken hip within a day or 2 at the latest. My poor grandfather was told he might either have pneumonia or even worse tuberculosis and that until they were sure surgery could not be performed. He suffered for a week before the surgery was actually done to repair his broken hip and was actually misdiagnosed having never even had pneumonia or tuberculous.
Before and following surgery, my grandfather was coherent and able to communicate with us just fine. The day after the surgery they tried to get him out of bed to do normal physical therapy and he was unable to do it. The following day they tried again and yet again he was unable. Well, it turned out my grandfather had suffered from blood clots on his spine that formed from sitting too long without movement for the week that he had not been able to get the surgery on his hip. We were told he may never actually be able to walk again from this. Plus, from his prior kidney issues, he was now needing dialysis, because he was having kidney failure. My grandfather, it seemed knew all this deep down, and began to slip away and become unresponsive and was no longer coherent by the end of that week in a coma-like state.
Back to Sunday, February 14, 2009, our phone rang around 12:30 pm and it was the hospital. We were told my grandfather had taken a turn for the worse and his heart was failing. We needed to get there as soon as possible, because they felt he would not make it.
Death and the Aftermath...
The hospital was right down the road from our house and I remember getting into my car immediately and it didn't even take me 5 minutes to get there after that fated call. I sat by his bedside for over 3 hours listening to the monitors and talking to him about everything and anything. At 4:30 pm, he took his last breath and I will never forget watching 2 teardrops come out of each of his eyes with the last breath. And with that my grandfather, my best friend and truly the one person in the world who knew me better than I knew myself was gone.
That was over 13 years ago and I can remember it like it was yesterday. Again, he was the first person I lost that was close to me and I remember being so numb after he died. I went to the hospital that day still having a grandfather and left not having one and having huge piece of my heart irrevocably broken on Valentine's Day nonetheless. It actually took me 2 months to cry and begin to admit just how heartbroken I truly was. And for quite a few years after, I mourned his loss and truly hated February 14th and Valentine's Day in general. I still miss him terribly, but time has somewhat lessened the grief for me. My husband and kids help so much too. Of course, when I look at them I wish he could have met and gotten to know them and they him too, but alas this was not meant to be.
However, I am Roman Catholic and do believe in angels though and will say this, I believe all the good things that have come to me has been because of him. So in a way, what has gotten me past a lot of my grief has been the belief that he is truly my guardian angel watching over me and making sure that nothing bad comes to harm me and has made sure to bring me other forms of happiness in the form of yet again my husband and kids. So quite possibly the reason they never met him is because he had to be no longer here and an angel for them to exist in my world. That might sound like a stretch and a bit crazy, but this is what I do believe.
Grief is a terrible feeling and has many different stages of course, but I will say this and not to diminish it, time does totally help in healing the wounds. It may not completely heal them, but it does truly help. Also, my religion and belief system has really helped make my grief better and manageable. This also being my first close loss made it even worse at the time. I have since lost others in our family, including my grandmother (my grandfather's wife) since and while these losses hurt and made me feel a lot of those same feelings of grief, being a bit older and wiser helped me cope better I think.
So in the end, time lessened those feelings, my age and my religion and/or belief system have definitely helped me in dealing with my grief and the loss of my loved ones. I do also realize I will lose others along the way too, but have to believe that there is a hereafter and I hope and pray that someday I will meet up with these lost, loved ones again. This again plays back on my religion and beliefs.