I didn’t think this could happen to me. He was always a sturdy old man in my eyes. I didn’t visit him much, but he knew that I loved him and vice versa. When I got a call from my mom that night, I knew, I just knew that my grandfather had passed away. Let me just say that my grandfather acted as a typical stubborn old man. He believed that even at 87 years old, he had the recuperative abilities of a 25-year-old.
I soon had to say goodbye to my grandfather while still dealing with the stresses of college.
It all started the day my mom called to tell me the family had admitted him into the hospital. Supposedly he had gotten an infection in his knee from a fall and never addressed the wound properly. As an old man, his kidneys didn’t function sufficiently enough to heal himself (not that he bothered to realize).
By the time he had been admitted, the wound had festered and become a grotesque sight. My mom had shown me the picture of what it looked like, and I got so weak-kneed that I had to sit down.
Results from the blood work and other exams that they administered on him came back. Apparently, my grandfather also had a case of pneumonia. Also, due to his unhealthy kidneys, doctors had to put him on a dialysis machine.
My mom told me all this information through multiple phone calls throughout the day. During the first phone call, my mom told me that he had been admitted to the hospital because of the infection. I figured he would recover and the doctors would simply address the wound and send my grandfather on his way.
The second phone call, my mom informed me that he caught pneumonia and that he had to be put on dialysis because of his poorly functioning kidneys.
On the third call, my heart skipped a beat.
My mom immediately told me that we had to put my grandfather on life support I walked to my room after class, and I only wanted to find a corner and cry My mother calmed me down and explained that he didn’t necessarily need life support, but the doctors only gave him sedatives to keep him asleep during his recuperation.
My grandfather didn’t like to be tied down, so in the midst of all the machines connected to him, he had yanked on one of the tubes. Eventually, they had to restrain him to the bed because he kept wanting to extract other tubes from his body.
A few days had passed when the medical staff decided to wean him off the sedatives. However, it took him even longer to come around finally. When he did, he had minimal speech, mumbling like a two-year-old.
I went home for Thanksgiving and luckily visited him, even though he didn’t wake up the entire time I visited. I just held his hand and mentally willed him to open his eyes, just once.
He didn’t. I wish I had known then that I would never see my grandfather again.
I had returned back to college, excited to finish with the last couple of weeks of school and finals so that I could go home and spend more time with my family. For the next day or two, the results started to look promising. We all knew that he’d have a long road to recovery, but we finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
If only we had known the light on the other side of the tunnel would soon extinguish, immersing us into darkness.
The day after I left home, things had taken a turn for the worst. My grandfather’s lungs had stopped working correctly, meaning the doctors would need to connect him to tubes again. My mom and uncle didn’t want that because they knew that he wouldn’t have wanted that for himself.
At this point, we played a waiting game Every time I got a call, I feared the worst. My mom and dad raced over to his side because they knew that he probably had hours, days at best.
I kept asking my mom if I need to fly home and she continued to reassure me that I wouldn’t need to. She wanted me to focus on school and my grades because that’s what he would’ve wanted.
Late that night, I sat in my dorm, doing homework like any other day. As I created a study guide for one of my classes, I felt my desk vibrate beneath my forearms. I looked to the side, and I saw my mom’s face light up the screen.
I felt my heart fall to the pit of my stomach. I picked up my phone and answered it.
“Mama, they were moving your grandfather to a new room to make him comfortable when he took his last breath and just passed away.”
I could hear the movement in the background and her sniffling between every other word. I just responded with, “Okay.” I didn’t know what else to say. I couldn’t ask her how she felt because anyone in the world would know the answer to that question.
I got off the phone with her and called my boyfriend immediately after so I could have some company
In those next few minutes, I just stared at the wall. I didn’t want to cry because my roommate also occupied the room and I didn’t want to worry her. I tried to keep myself busy until my boyfriend texted me to tell me he’d arrived.
I opened the door to my suite and walked straight into his open arms. I cried into his shoulder few a while, letting all the pain go with each tear. I pulled back and told him what my mom told me. We talked for a few minutes. He made sure that I would let him know if I needed him to come back.
Waking up the next day, all I simply wanted to go home to spend time with my family. However, my mom didn’t want me on a plane where she would worry about me, and she didn’t want me to jeopardize my grades as the end of the semester loomed.
At this point, I’d do anything my mom wanted, so I stayed at school. I kept myself busy with school and work, so I wouldn’t have time to sit around and let my thoughts wander.
I think about my grandfather every day and how I hope he’s in a better with his children. It hurts to have stayed so far from home at that time, but I know that friends and family surrounded my mom and that I supported her from afar.