Writing While Sobbing

I had a wonderful relationship with my Grandpa. I have vivid memories of the times that I spent with my him as a child. There is one in particular that I think back on when I start to miss him.
We’re driving down the street in his car. I’m in the backseat, standing up. I have my arms around his neck. “I love you Grandpa” I say, as he’s cruising down the street. “I love you too, Y.” He says back. The wind is blowing my hair all over the place. If I close my eyes, I can feel the wind on my face. I’m smiling from ear to ear as we talk and sing and laugh.
That memory is in stark contrast to the last one that I have of my Grandpa.
I walk down the hall and see him laying on his side on his bed. His belly is hanging over the bed, filled with fluid that his heart could no longer pump through his body. His face is swollen to the point of being unrecognizable. His entire body was blue and he was talking short, labored, quick breaths. It took my brain a minute to process the magnitude of what my eyes had just seen. My Grandpa, a man once so full of life, love and laughter, was slowly suffocating before my eyes.
My knees got weak, my heart started to pound as I glanced around the room. My aunt, grandma and brother were all there in the room.
Finally, I was able to speak.
“OH MY GOD.” I screamed.
“He’s FINE.” My aunt said with this smirk on her face, insinuating that I was overreacting. I wanted to punch her in the face. I literally had to refrain from physically attacking her because clearly, he was NOT fine. And clearly, she wanted him to die. She didn’t want me acting up and doing something crazy, like, you know, call 911 for help. Because then they may try to do something crazy, like, you know, KEEP HIM FROM DYING.
I knew in that moment that would be the last time I’d see my Grandpa alive. I knew that my Grandma (and my Aunt) had made the decision that this was it. That all of his suffering would soon be over if we just all stood there and watched him die from lack of oxygen to the brain. (what had happened was my grandma had given him pain medication for a fall he had a few days earlier. She gave him the pills every 4 hours as the doctor had instructed, but his kidneys had given out and wasn’t able to process the medication. He wasn’t getting oxygen to his brain the way he should have been. So maybe using the term “suffocating” isn’t medically the correct term. BUT HE WAS BLUE. AND WASN’T GETTING ENOUGH OXYGEN TO HIS BRAIN. NOT OKAY.)
I went outside and called my sister, who was on her way to his house. “We have to do something to help Grandpa.” I said. “This isn’t right.”
As soon as my sister arrived, she made it clear that we were going to call 911 and we did. Honestly? I can’t remember who called, but I can remember the HELL that broke out after the phone call was made.
My aunt was upset that we called.
And so she lashed out at all of us. She accused us of not loving him because we didn’t visit him as often as she did. Keep in mind, she lived 5 minutes away. We lived more than an hour a day. She could walk to his house if she wanted to. She screamed and shouted at us. And we screamed and shouted back. “How DARE YOU SAY I DON’T LOVE MY GRANDPA.” I shouted. “SHUT UP, SHUT UP RIGHT NOW.” My sister shouted.
It was ugly, probably the most ugly thing I’ve witnessed in my entire life. There was my beautiful grandfather, laying on his bed dying. And those he loved the most were throwing around accusations and screaming at each other. How awful of her. How awful of all of us.
I’ll never forget the sight of my grandfather, strapped half naked to the gurney being carried out the door of his mobile home. I’ll never forget how I wanted to turn away because it was too painful, but couldn’t because I knew it would probably be the last time I’d see him alive.
It wasn’t.
I saw him again at the hospital. After they had given him the oxygen he desperately needed. He was no longer blue, his color had returned to normal, as had his heart rate. But his brain had been damaged.
I held his hand, squeezed it tight and said “I love you, Grandpa. I love you so much. Thank you for being my Grandpa. I love you. I love you.”
He tried to respond. He did. He muttered, but he couldn’t form the words. I like to think I know what he was saying. “I love you too.”
I never wanted my last memories of him to be what they are.
I wish more than anything that my last memory could have been the week before, when I kissed him goodbye after spending the day with him for his birthday.
“I have to go now, Grandpa” I said, as I leaned in to kiss him.
“Already?” he said.
“Yes. I have to get things ready for tomorrow. The kids have school and I have to work.”
“Oh, I understand how that is.” He responded.
“I love you, Grandpa. Happy Birthday.”
“I love you.” He said, in the precious way he always did.
I kissed him, had the kids say their goodbyes and I walked out the door. I thought it may be the last time I’d see him alive, but I suppose I had hope that it wouldn’t. I do wonder, if I had even thought it would be the last time, why I didn’t say more? Why I didn’t stay longer? Why I didn’t hug him tighter? Why I didn’t kiss him a thousand times over?
It wasn’t the last time I saw him alive and yet it was. Because the last time I saw him alive he was brain damaged, he was unable to talk. He was unable to return my hugs and my kisses.
And I’m still sad about it. I’m still angry about it.
But I’m not the only one who’s angry. My grandma is angry too. She’s angry that we called 911. She told me this the other day. “Grandpa didn’t want to die in a hospital.” she said. “But Grandma! He was suffocating! It wasn’t fair to let him die in pain like that.” She snapped back with something about how awful that hospital was and how the bed they put him in was too small for him and if we had just “let him be.” he could have died in peace in his own home.
I haven’t been able to process her anger about this. It was the first time she’s said it to me and my God, it hurt. I never meant to go against my Grandpa’s wishes, but I also never wanted to see him suffering. I’ve always thought we did the right thing in calling for help that day. But what if I was wrong? What if he wasn’t telling me he loved me in those last moments I had with him in the hospital? What if he was asking why I didn’t just leave him be to die there in his bed?
I can only remember ONE TIME in my entire life that my Grandpa got angry with me. It was when I dared to wear jeans to church. “That’s disrespectful!” He shouted. “Go change into a dress!” I still remember how devastating it was to my little self. This man adored me, I could never do any wrong in his eyes. Until that moment. I had done something that angered him and I never wanted to do it again. And I never did.
Or did I? Was he angry with me on the day he did for what I had done?
I’ll never know the answer to that and it is killing me today.

66 thoughts on “Writing While Sobbing

  1. Busy Mom

    I’m sorry you have to go through this.
    However, you did the right thing. Period. Choosing not to take lifesaving measures to let someone die NEVER involves suffocating.

  2. danish

    Oh, Y. How could he have been angry with you? I just hope you can find peace. I know what its like to feel tortured asking yourself if you did the right thing. I am so sorry you had to go through all that at the end. And now still, all these months later. Hugs.

  3. Jessica

    I would think that he was trying to tell you that he loved you. I don’t know if it would matter much where you died, as long as you knew the ones you loved were around you. I wish you peace, Y, he isn’t suffering anymore.

  4. Avalea

    I have similar guilt with my own father. When he was ill and on his death bed, all kinds of judgements were passed and grudges are still held by some family members. It takes a long time to work through grief, Y. Grief brings out the worst in people sometimes. They, too, are working through it and sometimes that pain is misdirected. You have to believe in yourself. Don’t ever doubt your actions because you did them out of love. Period. You disappointed no one. No One.

  5. Deb

    So much peacemaking to be made with death, regardless of what happened. You acted with conviction and love, that’s all you or anyone else can ask of you. I hope writing helps you find peace.

  6. Liz

    Oh Y, I’m so sorry you’re feeling that way. Though I didn’t know your grandpa, I’d like to think that he knew you loved him and that you did what you did out of that love. Even if he didn’t want to go to the hospital, I don’t think he would’ve been angry with you, knowing that you did it because you love him.

  7. Sarcastic Mom

    Oh, Y. That is a sad situation. But you did the right thing. You took care of someone you love. No one can ever ask you for more than that. And I truly believe he was saying he loved you, too. Really.
    Hugs & Love to you, dear.

  8. stephanie

    There’s no way he was angry with you. Even if he would have preferred to die at home, he knew that you did what you did out of love, because you wanted him to die in comfort, in peace, and with dignity. He knew that. He did.

  9. baltimoregal

    Oh, I feel terrible for you. What an awful thing for everyone to go through.
    You helped take care of your grandfather and stop his pain. There can’t be anything wrong with that.

  10. @byron_fenoglio

    It does hurt to watch a loved one die and can hurt just as much to second guess yourself for trying to help when they are clearly suffering. This is the best reason to make sure your family knows what you want to happen in such a situation. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Byron

  11. Amy B

    What you did was out of LOVE and CONCERN. I can not think of a more loving act as a granddaughter then to go against the ones you love to try to help him. That is TRUE love ..Sounds to me that both you and your Grandfather knew what each other needed at the end. You to help him..and him to say goodbye.
    Try to think of the better times then your family anger..Grief does crazy things to people.

  12. Dawn

    Yvonne, you acted in love and compassion. You fought to keep him from hurting. Even if, in that fleeting moment, he wanted another choice, he surely, with all the wisdom and gentleness he had for you, understood. I know that to be true, just from reading about what kind of man he was.

  13. Mary

    If you are a believer, then you can have faith that the words your Grandmother has said are being twisted for you. Replayed in your head by someone evil to get you to doubt yourself and your faith.
    You did the right thing. I am certain, and I am sorry you have to go through this. You are not alone, though. I am praying for you and your family. :)

  14. Amy

    Folks say crazy things when they are grieving. Also, when people make choices that involve letting family members suffocate, they feel GUILTY (if they have any sense of decency) and that feels bad. People don’t like to feel bad, so often they deflect this feeling onto the most vulnerable person in the scene.
    In more blunt language, they are making you feel bad so they can stop feeling bad, and they are WRONG. You have a beautiful heart and I am sorry you are in pain. Your grandfather was lucky to have you, and the rest of them can go sit on a tack.

  15. Dawn B

    Wow… I read your post and especially once I reached near the end all I could think was how much he loved you. Me reading your post, I can tell how much he appreciated and loved you. I’m so sorry that you had to go through all of that messed up arguing from family and for doing the right thing. It takes so much time to process a death- something so major and so draining to your heart and soul.
    I am so sorry. :(
    My dad who lived in Oregon while I still lived in Maryland, passed away in December of 07 and my grandparents, his parents, didn’t call my oldest brother (who also just turned 38) ..for him to play messenger) until early January 08. So, I know what you mean about taking time to process it all. I’ve started to, but it takes time. I don’t even have exact date of death. My son’s birthday is Dec. 10th so it’s close to that day.

  16. lauri

    Yvonne
    Please don’t carry this guilt in your heart… your Grandpa would not have wanted you to be feeling this way. He is not angry with you. If Grandpa was meant to pass away at home… he would have. People on their death beds know when to let go and where to let go. It was not right for him to suffer and I am sure the hospital helped to ease his physical pain and for that I am sure he was grateful.
    You did the right and humane thing…. please meditate and find some time before bedtime to sit and talk to him… he is around you and he is listening to you.

  17. Amanda

    Y, you bring up the important point of letting EVERYONE in your family know your end-of-life wishes. Even so, you were acting out of love, and you felt he was suffering. At least he could breathe in the hospital.

  18. Shannon

    Y, I think your Grandpa was trying to tell you he loved you-maybe even thank you, for calling when you did. He knows you loved him and he loved you very much. He wouldn’t be angry with you. If the call wasn’t meant to be made, it wouldn’t have been. You did what was best for him.

  19. jessica

    Y, I believe that he was telling you he loved you.
    most people would rather (or think they would rather) die in their homes. However, when it comes down to being in pain and/or unable to breath, they do realize that it’s better in the hospital. most likely, at that point, he didnt care where he was as long as the pain was gone. he was happy to have his loved ones with him at that time and he knew that you loved him so so much. never NEVER second guess doing something to help someone you love feel less pain.

  20. Corey

    oh honey! you can’t go the rest of your life thinking that way. you only did what you thought was right. And i don’t know you and i didn’t know your grandpa, but can be sure he had to have been telling you he loved you. None of us want to die in a hospital do we? But neither do we want to suffer. And we surely don’t want our loved ones to suffer. Death comes to all of us at one time or another and if we can make that passage to the other side at least somewhat easier, then I think we should do it. I’m sure your grandmothers ‘anger’ is probably more of guilt than real anger. She probably feels like there must have been something else she could have done. I know my grandma felt that way for years after my grandpa died. Even though she did all she could do. Anyway, don’t let this eat at you. I’m sure your grandpa knows now that all you were doing was loving him and doing what you thought was best.

  21. Corey

    oh honey! you can’t go the rest of your life thinking that way. you only did what you thought was right. And i don’t know you and i didn’t know your grandpa, but can be sure he had to have been telling you he loved you. None of us want to die in a hospital do we? But neither do we want to suffer. And we surely don’t want our loved ones to suffer. Death comes to all of us at one time or another and if we can make that passage to the other side at least somewhat easier, then I think we should do it. I’m sure your grandmothers ‘anger’ is probably more of guilt than real anger. She probably feels like there must have been something else she could have done. I know my grandma felt that way for years after my grandpa died. Even though she did all she could do. Anyway, don’t let this eat at you. I’m sure your grandpa knows now that all you were doing was loving him and doing what you thought was best.

  22. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Oh, friend. I am totally crying. Like LITERALLY. And while, I don’t know the answer of what your Grandpa wanted you to do that day, I KNOW he knew you loved him. I have met you and you can see things like that just in your eyes.
    My Oma died in 1995, and I was able to fly home to say goodbye to her. It was peaceful, it was sad, but I absolutely realize how lucky I was to have that weekend (http://www.greeblemonkey.com/2006/02/for-my-oma.html). Very very lucky.
    Love you, darlin.

  23. Lyndsey

    Regardless of what his intentions were or what he wanted, he knew you loved him. He knew you did what you thought was best because he loved you. You know that he is in heaven right now and that he KNOWS that you did everything because you love him. And he loves you too.

  24. christine Gill

    you did the right thing… and he would have known that those were the last moments he was having with you, right?
    If you were in that position, near death, and the person you loved so much was there before saying “I love you, I love you so much, I love you” and squeezing your hand and… ok, just picture it, yvonne, what would you want to communicate back in that moment, huh? think about it.
    Love you girlie xx

  25. Thumper

    There is no possible way he was angry with you. People often say they want to die at home, “at peace” when the reality is that it’s hard, and scary, and not at all peaceful…by the time people realize that, it’s too late to ask for help. He couldn’t *breathe* and that’s absolutely terrifying. What you gave him was the gift of seeing what needed to be done, and you did it. Let everyone be angry; you took away a considerable amount of his pain, and that’s priceless.

  26. Anyabeth

    Oh Y, I am sure that he knew that you were loving him when you called. That you were doing what was best. I am sure of that.
    My grandfather wanted to die at home. And he did. And I still wake up at night because he died all alone.
    What I mean is that I think this is what happens when some one dies. Those who are left behind chew on guilt while they try to deal with their grief.

  27. Jennifer

    Oh, Y, my eyes are filled with tears for you. I agree with everyone that you acted out of love and concern, and anything done out of the pure love like you have for your grandfather can never be wrong. I’m sorry you had to go through what you did. However, I’m so glad that you had a grandfather like that in you life, and you in his.
    I know you will be grieving for him and it will be hard because you will go through many stages. Have you considered a loss support group?
    :big hugs:

  28. Jessica Inman

    You were in the right, no question. I was going to post a ‘real’ comment here, but it’s a bit too close. Sent you a note instead.
    Laugh big, love hard. It’s the only way to go.
    (and if this damn thing publishes 3 times, just smack me)

  29. shyvonne

    My grandfather died at home from colon cancer, it was terrible. As a grandchild I felt like I wasn’t allowed to say anything about his care, nothing was said, we just knew it was my aunt’s way. I sometimes wonder if I should have said something or done something. You were not afraid to step in, your love for your grandpa allowed you to do that. I hope you find peace.

  30. mom, again

    He was hardly ‘at peace’! People often say they want to die at home, visualizing gently passing in their sleep, or gracefully letting go after either receiving or giving wise benedictions. That’s probably what he meant, it wasn’t what his wife and daughter (?) were giving him. If they’d called 911 sooner, he might have lived long enough to die more peacefully. You did the right thing.

  31. angie

    Oh honey! Ask yourself: What would he have done if the roles were reversed? What if you were the one lying there, turning blue? He would have called 911 for you and I think he understood exactly why you did it for him. He loved you, without a doubt. I hope you find peace soon. You are much too sweet of a lady to feel guilty about this. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. May you find comfort in our comments and words of love.

  32. Ronda

    Dying at home shouldn’t involve suffocating, that’s not going peacefully. I bet he knew you were trying to help, and even if he did have some brain damage he was definitely more comfortable in the end. I am a hospital nurse and I’ve seen a lot of people die in different ways. My mom died recently on her couch with no warning, and I second guess myself too, all the what if’s. I found a quote the other day I am gonna go look for it. ok I found it.
    I think it describes perfectly the missing of and second guessing we do. It’s not necessarily a happy quote though.
    Death ends a life….but it does not end a relationship which struggles on in the survivor’s mind….towards some resolution which it never finds.
    Robert Anderson,(I never sang for my father)

  33. Heather

    Y, suffocation is a horrifying, painful, scary way to die, and no one should have to die that way if there is another choice. You helped prevent that horrible death and helped make it possible for him to have a peaceful death.
    What I learned when my Grampy died earlier this year was that death brings out the weird and the ugly in families. What happens in that time and space filled with grief does not represent the entirety of that family’s relationships with each other. Your grandfather has loved you for your whole life and you love him. That’s a fact and doesn’t change.

  34. lauren

    OMG I have been following your blog for about a month now and have never commented. How could I not now?, I am crying with you! I am so emotionally involved now. You did the right thing. He didn’t deserve to suffer as he passed. I am so sorry you had to see him like that. My heart goes out to you and I totally think I love you now. =) It will all be ok.

  35. Lena

    You did the right thing, Yvonne. You have no idea what may have happened had you and your sister not stepped in and at least made sure he died painlessly. What you did was out of LOVE and that is never wrong. Had your roles been reversed, would you blame him?
    He knows you loved him. That’s what he was saying that day.
    Don’t let anyone in your family project their pain on you. Focus on the good memories like the wind in your hair and know that you and he had a relationship that was ONLY yours.
    Hugging you. Tight.
    …I knew something must be wrong when we didn’t talk today. :{

  36. Sara

    I truly believe that your grandfather was grateful and he was indeed saying “I love you too”. I had a terminally ill child. Nearing the end, we all have to make decisions and even if he wanted to die at home, at the time when he was suffering, did he want relief and to go to the hospital? He may have and your provided that to him. In his last days, he DIDN’T SUFFER. All because of you and your sister. One day, our loved ones will see us again, and then we’ll know. Until then, you made the RIGHT decision. No matter what they say.

  37. Ambry

    I was identically close with my Grandaddy, who passed away just over 4 years ago. He went under hospice care in his home, & I understand that feeling of hopelessness…
    I’ve often wondered – if they had kept in the hospital, could they have kept him alive just a few more days? Unfortunately, I was too young & too scared to speak up.
    You did the right thing. Life is given to us to be enjoyed, right up until the very end.
    I choose to believe your Grandpa & my Grandaddy are in heaven now, waiting for the day that they can be with their favorite grandbabies again. God bless you, Y.

  38. Jen @ lifelove'n'wine

    Y, I’m so sorry you feel this way. I’m sure that your grandfather was not angry with you and just wanted you to know that he loved you too.
    I have a similar story about my own grandfather and it took me almost 5 years to get over the pain and guilt I’d put on myself. I finally had to forgive myself and allow myself to believe that I was the only one blaming me. I’m so sorry you feel this way. I know it’s very painful.

  39. jadine

    Most of us would rather die peacefully in our sleep at home, instead of in a hospital hooked up to beeping things. But dying and not being able to breathe, blue, heart struggling, kidneys failing — there is nothing peaceful about that. No one wants to be in a hospital, but that’s where his passing was made peaceful, less painful, less of a struggle. In my opinion, you did the most loving thing for your special Grandpa.

  40. Lisa

    My grandpa collapsed in church, turned blue and had no pulse. He had told everyone who knew him that if that happened, let him go. Of course when it did happen, his friends couldn’t stand to let him go so they did CPR and called the ambulance. He’s still alive today and has seen two more great great grandchildren born since that day. He’s a man with greater faith in God than anyone I’ve ever known and he’s still a little bitter that he was robbed of his chance to go home to God.
    Death is such a hard thing for the living to accept. We don’t want to let go of the ones we love and we especially don’t want to ever see them suffer. It’s very difficult to balance respecting someone’s wishes and your own feelings. The only thing that you can do is give all of this hurt and confusion to God and let him carry the burden for you.

  41. Laura

    I am crying oh so much as I read this. Why, because I can relate 100%. My mother passed away when I was 5 yrs old, and my grandmother was “my mother” as far as I’m concerned. She was always there for me, I lived with her for half my life, she was my rock, and she was in every memory I ever had. Almost 2yrs ago she was diagnosed with 3 different cancers. The Drs gave her 3weeks. She lasted 3 months. I spent every single minute possible with her. At the end, in a matter of three days, she went from good, to horrible. 4 days later she was gone. I was one of the lucky & very unlucky ones to be there that night. She had refused all pain meds the last three days, and just kept telling us she wanted to die in her house in her bed. (she had a DNR and it was pointless to call 911 in our case). I was there the last two hours of her life. and I washed as the life drained out of her. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my 30 yrs. I am so happy that I got to say goodbye, so happy that my voice was the last “voice” she heard, but so sad that those are the last memories I have of her. Laying there,breathless, pale as a ghost, and then to watch the mortuary remove her from her bed. I know your pain, and believe me when i say, that if you think what you did was wright, I am so sure that your grandfather is good with it. No matter what, now he’s not in pain any more. My thoughts and prayers are with you right now.

  42. ella

    Oh my. How tormented you must feel over this!
    But you must know that you DID do the right thing.
    I can understand not wanting to die in a hospital. He could have gone to a hospice. There he would have been given morphine so he wouldn’t suffer.
    I can only guess that it is out of ignorance that your aunt and grandmother didn’t call a doctor or 911. I know because I have family member that probably think like your aunt and grandmother. They just don’t know.
    You did the right thing.

  43. lani

    Y, you loved your Grandpa. Your Grandpa loved you. Don’t let anger and discouragement and guilt and doubt win. Let love win. It obviously did here. You did the right thing. Find rest and peace in that.

  44. Leah

    You did the right thing. From what you have written before about him, I am sure your Grandpa would have agreed with that. He knew you loved him fiercely and would do anything to help him and make him comfortable and do what was right. I pray that God will give you peace and comfort right now. I pray that your Grandma gets the peace she needs as well.

  45. Kat

    I dont really have words to say. I feel very similar to you, though I was much less aware of my grandpas death. i am so guilty for not saying goodbye when I had the chance. Im sorry. He knew you loved him.

  46. Jakki

    I would imagine that on that day, that last day you seen him (personally I think he see’s and feels you and everything about you even NOW) alive,he was trying to tell you what you meant to him. I do not think there was any anger in him because at that point and time, anger would be the last thing on his mind. But love…LOVE…that he felt FROM you and too you, and how it meant the world to him, would be the at the forefront.
    I think in your second guessing of rather you did the right thing or not, you are holding yourself back on your mourning for your Grandpa. Instead of looking for answers to that question, stick with the answers you truly know and that is that you had a pure unconditional love…treasure it always.

  47. Sara

    I cannot believe that he could lay there knowing that he was dying, knowing that you simply did not want him to suffer and be in pain, and be angry with you. You know your grandpa, you know how deeply he loved you. Would he use what last words he had for anger?
    There are “right” ways to slip into death, and there are “wrong” ways. The way that your grandpa was slipping into death was not a right way, not a humane way. The way that he slipped into death at the hospital was a humane way, even though it went against the wishes that he had expressed while living.
    I can tell you that I wouldn’t want to die in a hospital. But that is the healthy me, the me that is not in pain and not suffering. If I were where your grandpa was when you called 911, I’m sure that my wishes would be different. I’m sure that in those moments his wishes would have been different.
    Do you think your Grandpa would be wanting you to feel guilty for something that you did out of love? Or do you think that he’d hug you tight, and say that you did the right thing and tell you that he’d love you always, and miss you terribly?
    Those last few moments are precious. I doubt your Grandpa would waste them on anger. That’s not the type of man you’ve described, Y.
    It’s hard to let go of last memories when they’re as horrible as yours were. It’s hard to say to yourself “At least I could be there for him to be witness to his pain and to make sure that he was not alone.” I can understand the guilt and second-guessing you’re feeling. I’ve been there. It’s not a pretty place, and those what-ifs and questions can haunt you for a long time.
    Try not to let it cloud the beautiful memories that you have, though. You have so many of them. They are precious.

  48. wookie

    I realize that this post has probably touched a hell of a lot of nerves for anyone reading.
    It’s hard to say, at the end of it all, if what you did was “the right thing”. I’m a little surprised that if he was that close to dying that there wasn’t any sort of hospice care or help with the pain, the breathing or both.
    The important thing is that you felt you did the right thing at that time. It is a natural and good thing for humans to want to stop the suffering of others.
    Just as your grandmother has the right to feel angry that she feels her husband wishes were not respected, you ALSO have the right to feel angry that no one, least of all your grandfather, talked this through with you and your sister so that you could make peace with the idea of his suffering.

  49. Jessica

    Y-
    He loved you body and soul, and even if he had wanted to pass at home, he understood you and loved you enough to know that you couldn’t handle it. When my g-pa died, my sister couldn’t go and see him… it was the last week of his life, and we all knew it, but she couldn’t bear it, and he loved her eoungh to understand that she couldn’t bear the pain.
    Often times, our loved ones are so involved in their own grief that they need someone to be angry at so they don’t have to feel the loss a little longer. To have a wonderful man like that for a husband and father… it must have been unbearable to bear his passing. Try to understand with love and not guilt that they care still in the anger phase of their grieving. Give them a little more time, and if they continue to be angry, let them know that you acted out of love and geniune concer. That they need to treat it as water under the bridge rather than trying to continue punishing you for something that you can’t change. Tell them you love them and hope that they can get past this so they can get on with their grieving, and if need be take some time away from them and allow the space to think about things.
    Fot you sake I hope they get past the anger soon.

  50. burnurcomputer

    Everyone deserves to pass with dignity and know that they are ready. Many do not get that chance.
    Your Grandpa gave you love and you gave it in return. That is enough, that is all you ever needed to give each other. Its easy to bear the burden of guilt when we are not sure if we did the right thing. But bearing a weight and being the whipping girl for other people is a part that ( I believe) your Grandpa would have been angry about. He passed with love and with dignity, reguardless of where he was located physically. His body was failing him, but his heart and soul were getting ready to move onto his reward. One that he had worked very hard for all his life, from what you have said about him and his faith. I am 100% positive that he could have cared less where he died as long as he had those who loved him around him to give him support as he transitioned into the next step. He had that and you should let yourself have peace. Love is a gift that can never be purshased, stolen or forged by lies. You had that and it was beautifull, enjoy it and let the anger adn resentment pass with the fear. Love has no room for anger and resentment. Love is.

  51. Stacie

    sitting here reading and crying…noting the similarities between your loss and the loss of my Babci(grandma). she passed in Feb. and the last time I saw her “healthy” and coherent, I quickly dropped off some blueberry bread. I didn’t even sit down to chat…I had to get home to my kids and husband. had I known it was the last time I’d get to talk to her…I would’ve taken the extra time…
    Yet, part of me has to believe that she understood, being a devoted wife and mother herself.
    I cry everynight when my children are in part and my husband is asleep because I miss her so terribly. When I saw her in the hospital, her intestine had perforated and they were “making her comfortable” with morphine until she passed. it took a week…I went and sat by her bedside almost everynight and was there the night she died but couldn’t bear to be there at the actual time of her passing(my mom and aunt were there with her). I’m sorry this became a rambling of my own experience…I haven’t shared my grieving with anyone in a long while….wondering when and if it will get better…

  52. Kelly

    Reading that brought tears to my eyes – I didn’t have time to read all the comments, so I don’t know if anyone else has said what I’m going to… sorry if it’s a repeat.
    You didn’t stay longer, kiss him more, or say more when you saw him for his birthday, because there was no need. He knew. And deep down, you knew that he knew.
    Your grandmother is/was grieving – and sometimes people lash out in anger. I understand her (and his) wishes for your grandfather to die at home, that’s our goal/plan for our son. We don’t want him to die in a hospital. BUT. When you’re sitting there seeing someone like you saw your grandfather, your instinct is to HELP THEM. Period. Regardless of wishes or decisions, it hurts to watch that. And in all honesty, I think you’re right. Had it been peaceful, with him passing gently in his sleep, you would not have gone over your grandmother’s and aunt’s heads and called 911. It was his suffering that prompted you to do that – and he knew you well, so I’m sure he knew that you didn’t want to see him suffer.
    I’m so sorry that you have to live with that memory – but remind yourself of WHY you did what you did. It was justified, and it was right.

  53. BreeNachelle

    Yvonne,
    You cannot blame yourself. Older people want to do things their way, point blank. Your grandma meant well, but you and your sister did a good thing. You let him die with dignity, not in pain from suffocation. I’m sorry she’s putting her hurt onto you. It is her guilt. You did a good thing. Your aunt is wrong, she is also doing the same thing. Your grandpa in heaven loves you, and don’t let anyone take that away from you- EVER!!

  54. doesnt matter

    That day he yelled at you y, he was not angry with *YOU* He was not angry at all.
    You know well, how important upholding the sanctity of ones faith is. For many religious people, it is core an central to their lives. And church, is that place of sacredity, sort of the platform on which you come before God. For some people it is the most holy place they can be.
    That day, your grandfather, as any other day, stood before God in His house. He did so as a patriarch with his family and fruits beside him. He wanted to show off to God the good work and love he has nurtured in the word in His Name. With that, to see his angel being presented before God in her utmost purist and best form, he would want it no other way. He showed you that day how much he loved and respected you to bring forth to God, in his eyes, perfection.
    Now I am not a religious person at all. I study religion and people. Your grandfather was pure. And pure to him, is all he ever wanted you to be. Don’t fret no longer over that burning question. The answer is simply, love.

  55. Ashley

    Girl, as someone who has severe asthma and knows how scary it is to be unable to breathe, you did the right thing! Not to sound harsh, but if he had brain damage, i’m sure he was barely aware that he was even in a hospital at all. He was probably only aware of the most important thing: the love of the people surrounding him. You gave him the comfort he needed to pass peacefully. Being unable to breathe is TERRIFYING. I would never want someone I love to experience that, let alone pass away from it. You did the compassionate and loving thing. I’m surprised that your grandmother would say something so damaging to you. It is entirely irrelevant at this point. I’m sure she’s a lovely, caring woman who was just speaking from a place of pain and grief. I’ve never lost a spouse so believe me, i’m not passing judgment on your grandmother at all. I’m just very sorry that her pain has turned into your pain.
    Y, you’ve said some beautiful things about your grandpa. There is no way that man felt anything other than love, happiness, and gratitude towards you.

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