My grandparents were married for 44 years. They had that special kind of old-fashioned love, where he would put his coat down for her to walk on kinda romance. In modern culture it was a “Notebook” connection. It was undeniably beautiful to see even at my young thirteen years of age. And then, the diagnosis came…Grandpa John had terminal cancer with six months to live. He quickly faded and so did my heartbroken Grandma Leona. My mom and aunt had to place her in a skilled nursing facility while they tended to my grandfather in and out of the hospital. Their love was split for the first time.
After three months the end of life was rapidly approaching for my grandfather. Hospice was in full-effect and we were informed he only had hours left in his life. After my brother and cousins it was my turn to say good-bye to the man who gave me unconditional love and attention, taught me to swim and play gin rummy. He lay there so frail and his eyes closed, mouth open where I could faintly hear his labored breathing.
“I love you Grandpa. Thank you for being there for me.” I tearfully said. And in a quiet whisper I heard, “My favorite grand-daughter”-a little inside joke we shared because I was his only grand-daughter. I smiled. He continued to mumble in and out of consciousness over the next few hours where my mom was convinced he was making arrangements with the angels. And I bet he did. Shortly after, he passed.
“Would you like to come with me to tell grandma that grandpa passed away?” My mom asked.
“Sure.” I replied.
We visited my grandma who didn’t really have a particular diagnosis. She simply began to fall apart after my grandpa’s diagnosis, mainly affected by dementia. Looking back she was slipping into an altered state to be with him. How else was she going to get there?
We walked in my grandma’s room where she lay there staring off into space. I stood behind my mom at the foot of her bed. I could tell there wasn’t much connection to us, but she was there.
“Hi mom,” my mom said as grandma turned her head to look at us. “I just want to let you know that daddy passed away about an hour ago.” And as clear as a bell she replied, “No he didn’t. He was just sitting in that chair right before you walked in.”
And in that moment, I believed in angels. Do you?