Time Can Be So Cruel

My Grandpa, The Ladies Man
Not Much Time Left
My Mom called me last weekend to tell me that my Grandpa is not doing well. He’s swollen, filled with fluid due to a weak heart. The doctor told him that he doesn’t have much time left and that he’ll most likely die in his sleep. This isn’t the first time I’ve been told he’s very sick and it’s not the first time I’ve tried to mentally prepare for his death. But each time, he’s managed to pull through and keep on ticking. This time though… This time just seems different.
He can’t see anymore and he can’t move around much (except to go to the bathroom and to doctor’s visits). He told me that he sits in his chair all day and thinks about me and all of the memories we’ve had.
“I have such good memories of you, Y.” He said. “I sit here all day and I think about you and all the times we’ve had. I have had a good life, I have a good family.”
I tried to respond to tell him all of the ways that he’s impacted my life and how I couldn’t have survived my teenagers years without him but as I went to say the words, I could feel the lump in my throat and the tears welling up in my eyes. I took a deep breath, fought back the tears and instead of telling him everything that he means to me, I simply told him that I have wonderful memories too and that I love him.
My heart breaks when I think of living in a world in which he no longer exists. And at the same time, my heart breaks when I think of him sitting in that chair all day long, unable to get around, unable to see, laboring for every breath.
I think of him sitting in that chair thinking of me and I break down and weep.
My Opa.
Oh, Sweet Opa, how I love him and how incredibly blessed I’ve been to have him in my life for as long as I have.

73 thoughts on “Time Can Be So Cruel

  1. Erin

    I’m so sorry to hear this. You must be destroyed. You obviously know he deserves to be at rest but that doesn’t make letting go quit hurting. I was just thinking of you and commented on your video post from the other day, wondering where you’ve been. My thoughts are with you and your Opa.

  2. Kathy C.

    This breaks my heart, Y. I’m praying for him tonight, tomorrow and every night thereafter.

  3. Sasha

    Totally none of my business or anything but have you thought about maybe making him a tape or something that he can listen to? You know your voice talking about your memories and all the things you want him to know that you might not be able to say face to face for fear of breaking down?
    Maybe he might like something like that and you’d be able to say what you want to say at your own pace.

  4. krystle

    What wonderful post Y.
    Now that my eyes are welled with tears and there is a lump in my throat, it reminds me eerily of my relationship with my Grampa. He lives across the road from us and my heart breaks when I think of him not there anymore.
    Thoughts are with you and your Opa.

  5. Marmite Breath

    Y, I think Andrew looks a lot like him. They have similar eyes and mouth.
    I miss my Grandad so much. I just lost my Grandma too. I miss them every day.

  6. Wacky Mommy

    Baby, there is nothing better than to be able to say, “I have had a good life, I have a good family” and to think lovingly of your kids and grandkids.
    You just cannot beat that, I don’t care how much money or material goods a person has. Nothing trumps love.
    Peace and love to your Grandpa and to your whole family. I miss my grandpas everyday, but I know they’re checking up on me, so we’re good.

  7. Paige

    I’ve been there. I’m sorry. It’s very hard. My grandfather had Alzheimer’s and he didn’t remember me. Broke my heart. I thought I was prepared for his passing, but I wasn’t. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to endure.
    ((((HUGS))))) and you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. Rhi

    I went through this in February with my Grandma. If you can, go be with him. I sat for hours with my Grandma, just holding her hand, talking to her. I didn’t think she knew I was there, until one night as I said good bye, she opened her eyes and mouthed “I Love You”. I was the last person she acknowledged.
    You’re in my prayers.

  9. Kathy

    Y, I am so sorry about your grandpa. I’m sitting here with tears running down my face. I love the last picture of him. It reminds me of one of my favorite pictures of my grandpa. I lost my grandpa 16 years ago this August. He was the only dad I ever had and I miss him. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. So will your grandpa.

  10. Janette

    Oh, Y…what I wouldn’t give for another day with my sweet little Grampy. What a beautiful and thoughtful post. You’re both in my prayers.

  11. Emily

    What a beautiful post – you made me cry. I’m so sorry about your grandpa. You’re all in my thoughts…

  12. Laurie

    This is just heart breaking. One thing I’ve learned is to never leave anything left unsaid. When I cared for my great uncle in his last years, I let him know how very important he was to me, and how thankful I was to have been a part of his life. Make sure you tell your grandpa everything you want to say. My thoughts and prayers are with you!

  13. lani

    I’m so sorry, Y. My Grandpa used to say, “Getting old isn’t for sissies.” And it’s so true. It is hard to know which is harder – watching them suffer or letting them go. Hugs to you and yours.

  14. Kathy from NJ

    My father died on congestive heart failure this past November at age 87. One of the most loving things we did for him was ask him if he wanted Hospice care. He did, and he was able to die in his own home with dignity and with no pain or agitation.

  15. kim

    i can understand how you feel (believe me) but knowing he’s had such a full and happy life will help you once he has to go. you have the chance to tell him how much he means to you and how much you love him and how much you’re gonna miss him and that alone is priceless. and you will know he is at peace when he goes and not suffering any more. enjoy the time you still have with him and let him know you will be okay. you will be. *hugs*

  16. Jenn

    Lurker here, but I was moved to comment.
    My heart goes out to you and your Opa. I’m sending good thoughts your way. Y, even though you might not be able to tell him face to face the things that you want to, you still can. Write him a letter telling him all of those things, tell him Y. I wish I had that opportunity when my dad died, not telling him things is one of my biggest regrets to this day. Big Hugs to you!

  17. Lindsey

    Oh Y I’m so sorry to hear about your Opa. When my grandpa left this world it was so hard to say goodbye, but the memories eventually make it okay. Cherish those memories. (((HUGS)))

  18. Heather B.

    Oh, sweetie. I am so so sorry. I’ve been there with my own grandfather and it’s so very hard. I wish there was something I could do for you. Would cookays help? (that was my feeble attempt at making you smile)

  19. Samantha

    This was such a beautiful post. I am sitting here with tears running down my face.
    My grandmother (a 2nd mother to me, lived with us my entire childhood) just passed away 2 years ago at age 90. I didn’t want to make her too sad or scared while she was in hospice, so I told her a million times I love her, but I didn’t get to say specific things I wish I had said to her. It kills me that I can’t say them to her now. If you can’t get it out of you mouth (like I couldn’t) then write him a letter quickly. You’ll never regret letting him know, but you will regret not having the opportunity to do so.
    No matter how long they are in our lives, it’s never long enough. As active and independent as my grandmother was until the end, I just never thought she would die. I couldn’t prepare, and still can’t believe she’s gone.
    (((Hugs))) and it sounds like you are both lucky to have each other. That’s wonderful that he feels so fulfilled about his life and family.

  20. nicole

    My dad just died in April and the hardest thing was to see the cancer destroy the person he used to be (physically and mentally). I had trouble dealing with his death, trying nor to confront it, to just act like it didn´t happen. Somehow your post turned me into a crying mess (at work – awesome!).
    Your Opa is in my thoughts. All the best.

  21. Tami

    I dont comment very often , but I am always reading. When I read this it broke my heart. My prayers are with you as you try to get threw this hard time. Know that he will not have to suffer any more when God takes him home!

  22. Rebecca

    I cried when I read this post, because your grandpa reminds me of my dad. They look similar and my dad passed away last August. It made all those days where he was sick come back. I will be praying for you and your family.

  23. Marla

    I’m a lurker as well…..but such a wonderful post that brought tears to my eyes. My grandfather passed away 15 years ago on May 29th…….and 18 months later I lost my other grandfather. They knew how much I loved them but I still regret not getting the chance to tell them how much they meant to me, so don’t let the opportunity pass you by, and “I hope you dance”(Lee Anne Womack).

  24. p

    Y, he’s still beautiful. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through.
    All my best,
    P

  25. Karen

    You are so blessed. I never really knew either of my grandfathers, so give him a kiss for me.

  26. Becky

    Oh Y, I’m so sorry. It hurts so very much to see someone you love in pain. This is a beautiful tribute.
    *hugs*

  27. Kaela

    My heart breaks for you. You are blessed to have such a wonderful relationship with your grandpa, he’s a beautiful person.
    I love the tape idea another poster had, I think he would really enjoy it.
    xoxo

  28. rachael

    I am so sorry.
    my great grandmother died yesterday. It’s always hard to lose someone you love, whether you expect it or not.

  29. Mary Boston

    It’s so hard to loose grandparents. They have such a uniqe role.
    Your post was so touching and the contrast in pictures spoke a million words. I’ll be praying for you.

  30. Mrs. Chicken

    I never really knew my grandparents, but my husband is VERY close to his. They are in their 90s, and as much as they make me crazy I dread the day they pass. One will follow the other, quickly, I am sure.
    I am so sorry for your pain, Y. And also a bit jealous that you have had such a strong relationship with him. My thoughts and prayers are with you, and with him.

  31. Kristin

    It’s been 11 years since my grandma passed away and I still miss her and can’t help but wish she’d be here to know my children.
    Take care, and I’m so sorry.

  32. Rebecca

    I am so sorry. I’m glad you are able to spend this time with him. I’m certain he knows how much you treasure him.

  33. catnip

    Damn. You made cry. I’m sorry he’s not doing well. You are so blessed to have had such a wonderful relationship with him.

  34. Kelley

    Oh sweetie, what a special man. I wish everyone had an Opa as wonderful as yours.
    My father is blind (due to brain tumours) and he feels the same way about my girls.

  35. girlplease

    why aren’t the docs doing anything for congestive heart failure if he’s swollen due to his heart? there are treatments. see if you can talk with his docs about it. my father just had a bout of it (5 days in the hospital where they drained 20lbs worth of fluid). it’s worth a shot.
    wishing you all the prayers and good thoughts in the world, y

  36. FamiliesONLY

    I know exactly how you feel, I watched my grandfather pass away from cancer in high school. I still miss him, still cry when I “talk” to him. My grandparents raised me, even before I lived with them, and I don’t know what I’ll do when both are gone. I wish my kids had the same kind of relationship with a grandparent. Thinking of you, hoping you stay strong and able to talk to him til the end.

  37. Debbie

    Tell him. Tell him all the things you want to tell him, even if you break down crying. It will mean so much to him to hear you say those things.

  38. Anyabeth

    Oh my heart is so braoken on your behalf. I hope that you can make yourself tell him what you need to say and I am sure that he needs to hear. You are both so lucky to have had this time.

  39. Lex

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you, Y. I lost my grandpa a little over a year ago and at first this post was tough to read… but by the end I was smiling through my tears. Thank you for sharing your Opa with the internets.

  40. Book Mamma

    I hope you can cram in as many moments you can with him.
    Soak them up. Love on him – there will be more chances to tell him what he means to you.
    I lost my Papa Loyd exactly the same way – drowning in fluid and swollen. It took a while, with lots of time to mentally prepare, but it was so hard on him. He and my grandmother got me. My childhood = them, and when they were gone I felt that I was officially not a child any longer. It was a surprising feeling.
    I was honored to be there when he slipped away. Even four years later I’m still crying as I think about him and type this.
    Thanks for a beautiful post.

  41. Jen

    I am so sorry to hear this. It is good that he isn’t scared or depressed but rather remembering all the good in his life. Thanks for sharing your in my thoughts.

  42. alice

    Oh, Y. I’m so sorry.
    It’s so wonderful that your Opa has had such a full, rich, loving life, and so wrenching that he’s dealing with so many limitations right now around it. I send my love to you both.

  43. Amber

    Y, Im so so very sorry to hear your Opa isn’t doing very well. I can only imagine what your going thru, my grandparents adopted and raised me. Im very close to both of them. I swear it will just about kill me when they do pass away. If i were you I would just spend as much time with Opa as you can, and get the kids to do the same. Even your presence with him will let him know how much you care for him. Maybe write him a letter & while your out of the room have one of your boys read it to him. Either way I hope you get to spend as much time with Opa and just let him know he is well loved even tho I can imagine he already knows :) Your a wonderful granddaughter & i bet he would agree. You,Opa & your family are in my toughts & prayers.
    ((((HUGS)))

  44. Christie

    I am really sorry, you actually brought tears to my eyes and that isn’t a easy task. I thought about when my Grandpa was very ill and how it brought back all them memories. And today, he’s still going strong but now has alzheimers. And its a very thing to think about.

  45. mothergoosemouse

    I love old photos. The one of him as a young man is fantastic.
    I know how hard it is to face losing a beloved grandparent. I’m glad you have such wonderful memories of him.

  46. Stefanie

    Sometimes I almost don’t want to comment when you have so many, but, damn girl, you kill me. I love how much feeling and compassion you have. You radiate goodness and I bet anything you said to your gramps he FELT in his heart. Sorry to be so corny but I’m thinking about you and love you Internet friend (and real life).

  47. Jessica

    I feel your pain deeply. My grandmother is dying. The doctor told her to go home and make a living will. It kills me to see her because she’s so weak and she tries to be so strong and independent.
    Your Opa is in my prayers and I’m crying with you.

  48. Marcy Massura-The Glamorous Life

    Even if you think you said enough. Even if you think you said it all…..go to him and say it all over again. Say everything. Write it down and read it to him. Say it. Trust me girlfirend….you will be SO glad you did.
    Grief is the price we pay for true love……..

  49. chrystal

    :( I’m so sorry that he’s not doing so well.. watching someone we love so much slip away from us is *so* hard… I’m going through something similar with my grandma right now.
    As hard as it is.. the whole emotional thing when it comes to saying what’s on your mind, I hope you can find the strength [and courage] to tell that awesome man just how absoutely wonderful he is and how you couldn’t have made it through without him. Those words.. those simple, from the gut words, will mean more to him then you’ll ever know.
    Tell him, Y. Not only for him.. but for you, too.
    C

  50. Jamie

    Oh honey…I am so sorry. It is so hard to see someone you love deterioriate physically.
    Big hug coming to you. I am crying at my desk.
    That photo of him as a young man is awesome!!!!
    p.s. I hope you are doing OK…I don’t read or comment often but I hope this is a good day for you!

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