I have been extremely fortunate to not experience the death of someone close to me. My sister died when she was about 1 year old, but it was before I was born. My dad's father passed away a little over a week ago and I knew the time would come because he was 87 and his health was deteriorating, but it was much harder than I had anticipated.
I was always close to my grandparents, but when I lived in Logan for college I grew extremely close. The team started preseason training before we were allowed to move into our apartment for the school year, so "my soccer girls" ,as my grandparents called them, and I would stay a couple of weeks every summer at their house. My grandparents would always make us feel at home. They made us food even though the school gave us money to eat, my grandma did our laundry and my grandpa would make sure that every car fit in the driveway at night. My friends started to call them grandpa and grandma by the end our the first summer stay.
They were also some of my biggest fans and they never missed a single home game. I can still vividly picture my Grandpa in his Utah State hat sitting at the end of the top row of the bleachers. They always got to my games abnormally early so I could find them. They cut out every news article about me in the Statesman and the Herald Journal and for some weird reason made lots of copies and gave me one, my parents one, and put it on their fridge and in a separate binder. They brought groceries and treats unexpectedly to my apartment and let me throw a big graduation party for Jenn and I at their house. I have so many memories of my college experience with them in it.
|This is my favorite picture of him when he was younger.|
|He entered the Navy in WWII when he was so young.|
It was a Thursday when my dad came home from work and told me that an ambulance had taken Grandpa to the emergency department at Logan Regional hospital. My mom said that we could go up after work the next day so I asked my dad to be honest and let me know if he would still be there. He said that he was really sick, but wasn't sure. I felt like I should go up that night because if I didn't I knew I would regret it. When I walked into his hospital room I just started to cry. He looked so frail and helpless and literally looked 90 lbs and probably was. He has always been very skinny from being a marathon runner, but this was a sickly skinny and it hadn't been that long since I had seen him. He was also writhing around in pain, changing positions and was struggling to breath. I grabbed his arm and asked him if he was alright and he replied "I don't know, my whole body hurts" and then moaned and tried sucking for more air. It literally broke my heart and I thought somebody needs to do something. He needs more pain medication and needs to be intubated. I guess when they had arrived they wanted to intubate him, but because of his living will/DNR they couldn't. They also couldn't give him more pain medications because it would cause more respiratory depression and he already had aspiration pneumonia and fluid filled lungs. So as unbearable as it was, we sat and watched. At 10:30 pm my mom said we needed to drive home so I could go to work the next day. They were transferring him to the ICU and I hoped he could pull through. Everyone left his room while they got a urine sample and I went back in alone with him and said I had to leave. He has struggled with some Dementia, but I know he was fully aware of what was going on and who I was at that moment. I told him I loved him and that I would see him tomorrow, kissed him on the head and he told me he loved me, for what I didn't know would be the last time.
The next day at work I was just checking my phone constantly because I told my dad to keep me updated. He told me that his vital signs were about the same, but he was less responsive than what he had been the night before. I got a phone call from my dad at about 1:30 pm and I could tell he was choked up. He told me that the doctor had just come in and talked to my grandma and the children. He told them that he had some sort of infection, but weren't sure where it was coming from. If they wanted to keep him alive they would have to intubate him, transfer him to IMC where he would need a blood transfusion, dialysis and may be in a care center. We all knew this is not what he would have wanted, but in the moment you want to do everything that can be done. My dad said that they had decided to let him go and that I should come up. I immediately broke down and left work. I was bawling in the car with no Kleenex, so I was wiping snot all over my shirt and praying I would make it up in time and be able to see the road. I was in Ogden when my dad text me and said is blood pressure was 54/28 and he had maybe an hour. I then started to drive about 90 mph and thought if there was a cop out I would at least have a good excuse and be able to get out of a ticket.
I ran up to his room to silence and all my aunts and uncles looked exhausted from staying up all night. I kissed him on his head again, but this time he didn't respond at all, didn't even open his eyes. He just lay there doing this thing I had only learned about, Cheyne-Stokes breathing, its a sort of death rattle that happens before people die. It didn't take long, which I believe is a tender mercy from the lord, because I arrived at 4 pm and he left us at 6pm. The hardest part was that he was still hooked to the monitor that showed his vital signs. I just kept staring at his heart rate and respiration dropping and then all of the sudden his heart rhythm flat lined and made that terrible noise like it does in the movies. My grandma sank down on him and started shaking saying that she wanted to die with him and that her life was over. I tried comforting her, but she just kept saying that she wished she wasn't seven years younger than him and could go as well. I could totally imagine that I would say the same thing if I were in her situation, but it was hard to see her like that.
|The man on the right served in WWII with my grandpa.|
Every time my grandpa saw me he would give me a hug and say "Who loves you?" I know he loved me and I love him with all my heart. I am so grateful for my savior and for the resurrection and the knowledge that I will see him again!