I haven’t written since April 17 for many many many reasons. Ready for a long post? This might be one of those.
Papa looked so life-like when he lay in that borrowed casket. I reached out and touched his withered 87-year-old hand and it felt like hardened wax. My mom was right when she said that it wasn’t him anymore; just a shell he left behind. The worst thing was watching Grandma go up and talk to him. The thought of her being along was too much for me to bear.
Papa was taken away in an ambulance to a nearby hospital on April 4, 2011. There, it was determined that his colon cancer had returned and a new procedure had to commence. Papa was taken to a different hospital where the surgery could performed. I called him that morning from the main office at school to wish him good luck and to tell him that I love him. We all thought that he would not make it through the procedure.
Voila! The man that never ceased to amaze us did it again when he woke up after that surgery. From that hospital, my grandmother and uncle chose a rehabilitation facility for him to spend two weeks tops at to rebuild the strength in his weakened leg muscles.
Papa was doing great at first, and then he started dying at the place where he was supposed to get better.
Papa died on May 19, 2011 at 9:05 PM. My mother and grandmother were with him at the hospital they had moved him to after removing him from the rehab facility. They watched him take his last breath. We received a phone call at home and I nearly fell down the stairs just bawling my eyes out.
The car ride out to the hospital was the longest car ride of my life. We drove Bubbles and everyone was silent on the way out. We were silent, but we were all crying. I sobbed the entire way there.
Wow. I just realized that it has been nearly a month since that dreadful day. It was a crazy month full of crying, laughter and sharing memories. We’re slowly getting used to my grandmother living alone, but it hasn’t been easy. We check in on her often and she comes over for dinner almost every night. We have even had a couple family get-togethers since Papa died. We all knew that someone was missing, though, even though nobody wanted to bring it up.
Papa was a fun, witty guy. He was quiet as a mouse but the gears in his brain were always a’whirrin’ making him sharp as a tack, even at the age of 87.
It’s weird not having him around.
It’s weird saying “I’m going to Grandma and Papa’s house” and wincing at the second name mentioned.
It’s weird listening to voicemails he left on my phone and memorizing every word, even though at the time that he left them I didn’t really listen to what he said at all.
But I guess weird is just going to have to be the new normal.