Saturday, August 29, 2009

Goodbye to My Grandfather

Poppa, Quin, & Meme December 2008

My Poppa lived a long life. I believe he was 88. He had been in good health up until recently. He was still playing golf last year. 18 holes. He lived a GOOD life. He went into hospice early in the week. They gave him 3 months. He lived for 5 days. I am the only immediate family member who lives far away. I was able to speak with him by phone each day, and he was able to talk with my oldest daughter and my husband. Everyone else was able to be with him each day and that helped me to feel more like I was with him. We were close for my whole life. I feel blessed to have had my grandfather for 35 years. While it is very difficult to think that he is gone I am happy that in the end he went peacefully with my mother, grandmother, and aunt by his side. I am also happy that I spoke to him often, visited him whenever I could, and told him I loved him whenever I saw him. I was able to see him less than one month ago at our family reunion. There are no regrets. We will now head to Minneapolis to be with our family.

Poppa playing with Quin May 2008

I will never forget how we spent Friday. This was the last day of my grandfather's life and we all knew it was his last day. Two days before I had sent him and 8 page letter telling him how I felt. I knew it would not make it in time when they called me on Friday. I had photographed the letter, since I was not sure if I would get the original copy back (which I will not as it will be buried with him, as will other letters from family members) so I photographed each page so that I could type it up late or re write it by hand. I emailed the JPEGS to my husband who was kind enough to fax it to the hospice ASAP. My wonderful sister made sure it was received, and while my family was in the room, she read the whole thing directly into his ear, continually reminding him it was from me. He did listen to it, and he did respond to certain memories I had written down. In the end he tried to thank her for reading it. Later in the day he went into a coma. Being so far away I wanted to keep my thoughts on him all day, as I had all week, and to include my children in thinking about him. I had told a friend that I would watch her daughter while she performed the cane dance, a folk dance, for the seniors at a local seniors lunch. Before we left to meet her, Quin and I put on some music and she, Emmanuelle, and I did "a dance for Poppa". Later in the day, we went to a pot luck dinner with some other families at a local park. We talked about Poppa on the walk there and on the walk home. On the way home I found a blue jay feather on the ground. I have found many feathers in my life but this is not one of the ones I normally find. My grandfather loved birds. He had feeders outside his house and we would sit outside and watch the birds. When I saw that feather I really thought he was already gone but he would hang on until the next morning. Before going to bed my daughter and I read one of her library books, "Feathers, Poems about Birds", by Eileen Spinelli. We thought about Poppa the whole time. We all went to bed thinking of him. Goodbye Poppa, we love you!


Serena said...

Oh man, your post totally made me cry! Im so sorry to hear about your loss.

It's so wonderful that you and your family were able to see your grandfather last month and that your family was able to read your letter to him; im sure it meant the world to him.

Sending you lots of love xoxo

Tiffany Teske said...

Thanks, Serena :) I had another friend email me that it made her cry, too. It was good to go home and be with my family. I have some things I want to post about soon...

Anne-Marie said...

that was beautiful-thanks for sharing. i think it helps the rest of us to heal as well.