I'm a Catholic and I'm proud of my religion. I went to a Catholic School for a bit of my life and I'm not ashamed to say it. Lately, I've had this routine where I pray to God before I go to bed. I pray the usual things, good health, for my family, etc. One of the things I especially pray for is my grandfather who has emphysema. Emphysema is a disease that affects your lungs. He developed it about 3-4 years ago and it was a shock.
My grandfather was in the Air Force and like most men, he smoked. Of course, they didn't know the effects of smoking back then. He married my grandmother and luckily, he quit before he did. I was always over at their house, especially in the summer. They had a swimming pool and that's where I really learned to swim. I loved the deep end and when I got good enough, I liked diving for little "sinkies", as I called them. Sometimes, my grandfather came in with us, even though he was busy with something else. He always had some sort of project going on when we were over. Either it was mowing the lawn, fixing something in the tool shed, or tending to their garden and the pool despite how hot it was. He had time for those projects but he always had time for us.
It was around 3-4 years ago but it all seems like a blur. Every time I saw him, he had an air tank with the nose piece surrounding his head. Soon, he was never outside anymore. He frequently got nose bleeds and only really got up to go to the bathroom and eat. Most of the time, he sat on the couch and watched TV. He was big into football, Jeopardy, and Wheel of Fortune. He got me into Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. Sometimes when I slept over their house, he and I would watch it together and see who knew the answers. Slowly, he got weaker and weaker.
For the past week, he was getting worse. He has had "episodes" like this before so I thought it was nothing, although you could sense the worry in me. Last night, I was watching the Grammys and asking my mom how he was doing. She said, "He is about the same." My dad sent my brother and I to bed although I wasn't really tired. I had fallen asleep on the couch earlier that day. Around 10:00 or so, the phone rang so my dad picked it up. I wished I had a phone in my room so I could see the caller ID. I listened carefully but could hardly make the words because my bedroom door was closed. I finally drifted off into a deep sleep. I woke up around 5:00 this morning after having a bad dream. Luckily, I fell right back asleep but I didn't feel right, restless almost. After I woke up, I went downstairs on the couch and watched the news. A short 5 minutes later, my dad rounded up the gang. He called my brother and sister up from the basement which I thought wasn't unusual but when he called my brother from the computer room, I knew something was up. He told us that last night around 9:00, my grandfather past away.
The first thing I thought was that God had let me down. I prayed to him constantly, every single night, for my grandfather's health. I have so many unasked and unanswered questions. I was up at 9:00. At that very second, I was either watching Lady Gaga perform or laughing at my brother dancing in front of the TV, while my grandfather was taking his last breath. Was it painful? Was it quick? Did his heart stop beating at the same time I was watching TV? Was he watching TV too? Was he comfortable? Was my grandmother there with him, holding his hand? Is he happy now? Is it good it's over? Is there going to be more sadness coming my way?
I have never been to funeral, I've been to a wake but this time, it's going to be harder. I was young the last time a family member died but it's not so hard looking at a friend's loved one when you didn't know them. Will he be wearing his favorite watch or his wedding bands? Will he be wearing his glasses? Will I start to cry? Will my mother cry? Will my siblings? How is my grandmother doing? Where is he now? That's about the only question I know the answer to. I know he is with God and in a way, he is watching over me and now the suffering has come to end, but that's the saddest part. And that he isn't coming back.
I love you.