Goodbye Grandpa

Sweet Grandpa “Remi” (my mom’s father) passed away earlier this afternoon. When we visited my other grandfather at Rhode Island hospital in the trauma unit yesterday, we walked to the connecting Jane Brown building to see him. I’d visited him numerous times, but hadn’t seen him in a while. He didn’t look well at all, and it hurt so much to see him like that. I’m glad I got to tell him I love him again (thought I’m not sure if he knew it was me), and Dan played the guitar and we sang songs – I through my tears.

I’ve been praying non-stop, but not really having all the words. Mostly, I’ve been praying that they will be comfortable and at peace, to know they they are very much loved by the family. I actually prayed that Grandpa Remi would just die peacefully, because he’s been languising for so long, with no hope of ever returning home. So, I guess you could call this an answer to prayer. It’s a relief to know he’s with the Lord, finally at peace and in a perfect Place, but it’s so painful to have to see my family – especially my mom (and her siblings) and grandmother – go through this. And I have all these images of his fragile body, a shadow of his former self, struggling through his many complications. Grandma Remi has had time to get used to the idea, but it doesn’t really make it any easier.

Tonight the family goes back to the hospital to see Grandpa Sorensen. Yesterday the doctors came and told us that, basically, the prognosis is not good. We already knew that, of course. Dad, my aunt Sherry, and Grandma Sorensen will have to decided whether or not to keep him on life support. Grandma is hoping against hope, and I don’t think she understands the full extent of what has happened – she thinks there must be some sort of surgery that will fix it. Basically, he has severe bruising (which means internal bleeding) in his brain, and he’s fractured his skull; one of his lungs collapsed, but anything they could do for that is in effect totally useless in conjunction with his head injury.

Grandpa is restless in his bed, and Grandma thinks he’s making conscious movements – it’s hard to tell her that he’s damaged far beyond that capability. It was especially hard when he opened his eyes all the way, and it seems like he should be awake, smiling at us, speaking in his cute little Danish accent. But he just closed his eyes again, and that was that. I think it’s harder because – even though we were together for Mother’s Day – we didn’t get the chance to say goodbye, like we’ve been able to do with Grandpa Remi. (pause) Grandma insists God can do a miracle, and I know he can, and don’t want to diminish His power – but it just doesn’t seem likely. Dad wants to give Grandma a couple days to “get used” to the idea and “be at peace” with their decision, but I’m afraid she’ll just get all the more hopeful – especially if he keeps moving around. She keeps telling him to wake up, asking him if he wants to say something – of course he can’t, least of all because he has tubes down his throat – telling the nurses he needs a drink when he can’t have anything.

I’ve pretty much been praying the same thing for Grandpa Sorensen – if it’s God’s will that he passes, it will be soon and peaceful, so we won’t have to make the hard decision ourselves. If it’s God’s will that he somehow comes through this, that he’ll be whole again. And of course I’ve been praying for my grandmothers, who will be on their own.

I know people go through and get through much worse, but I can’t believe this is all happening, and how sad I am. I’m just sad, sad, sad, sad, sad.