Thursday, July 28, 2011

Regret

I have very few regrets in my life. No, that doesn't mean I am perfectly happy with my life. I have a million things that, if given the choice, I would do differently, but I have very few things that I truly regret.

My grandfather passed away yesterday.

To explain my regret, I need to back track a little. About two weeks ago on Saturday, I spent the day with my mother's side of the family, including my grandfather. He was going in for a major operation on Monday, so the family was getting together to spend some time with him and to make plans for who was going to be staying with my grandmother while he was in the hospital and n recovery (my grandmother has Alzheimer's and can't be alone for long periods of time). I spend a lot of time with my grandfather that day. We talked a lot, he was scared. He was scared that he wouldn't make it through the operation, he was scared of leaving my grandmother. The part that broke my heart was that he wasn't really afraid of dying; he was afraid of leaving my grandmother, that's just the type of guy my grandfather was.

The surgery went great. After a few days he was up and walking, moving around, complaining about his aches and pains. He was his usual self. Last Sunday he was complaining to my little brother about his lack of bladder control. He was moved out of the hospital and into a nursing home for rehab. We were all so excited about how well he was doing, how quick his recovery was.

Tuesday night I got a call that my grandfather had taken a turn for the worse and that they were all heading up there shortly to be with him. Drew and I headed up (about an hour away). The whole way I was wondering about how bad he was, what had happened, and how long he would have to be in the hospital. I was in no way prepared for what I saw when I entered his room in the ICU. My mom's entire family was there. There must have been 25-30 family members in that room with tear-stained faces, clustered around his face.

I'm going to stop with the details right now, because it is too hard to re-live it all right now. Tuesday night we all sat with him, held his hand, spoke to him, and prayed. At 10:10 Wednesday morning he passed away. Several of his children were with him at the time.

My regret? I didn't go see him last weekend. I went on a canoe trip with friends. I took for granted that since he was doing so well, he would quickly recover. I took for granted that he would be okay... I was stupid. I should have gone to see him in the hospital last weekend, just to talk to him one last time. I don't know if he knew I was there Tuesday night. I don't know if he heard my good-byes or my promises to let his ghost haunt the rocking chair in my bedroom (long story, but it was a conversation we had weeks ago that involved his grandfather rocking in a rocking chair to let him know he was okay). I deeply regret not taking the time last weekend to see him, and I don't know if I can forgive myself for it.

I miss him already. It's stuck in the back of my head and in the bottom of my heart. I've been at work the last few days, keeping myself busy, but the thoughts keep creeping in to remind me that he's gone, and this wave of grief just crashes over me. I've never lost someone this close before, and I know I'm lucky, but it just hurts to know he won't be there any more. I can't ever again stick my tongue out at him, or tease him about only wearing blue (no joke, pretty sure ALL his clothing is blue). I can't help him stand up anymore or wrap my arms around him... he's really gone.

6 comments:

  1. I wish there were magic words for times like these, but there aren't. Or none that I have heard yet. Dad has been gone for almost six years and I still regret not being there when he passed. But not knowing your Grandpa, I would still bet that he would have preferred you to be canoeing with friends rather than hanging out in a hospital or nursing home. You did what felt right at the given time. You had no way to know. No one does. He's gone from this Earth but will always live in your heart. *hugs*

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  2. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. There are always going to be things that we wish we did differently, or regrets over not doing something. Do not blame yourself for this. Like the post above, your grandfather would be happy that you had an awesome day with your husband and friends. You had no way of knowing that things would take a turn for the worst, you were just living your life. He knew you loved him, and that is so important. My thoughts are prayers are with you :(

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  3. Amanda, I am SO sorry to read this. Don't be angry with yourself for spending time with your friends... I'm sure your Grandfather would be happy to know that you were having fun. And I'm sure he heard you, and knows you love him. I wish I could give you a hug in real life. Try to remember to celebrate his life.. hopefully that will help your heart ache a little less...

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  4. I found you on 20sb but I had to post and say I know how you feel. My dad had cancer and took a turn for the worse in October of last year. It kept progressing until he was bed ridden and needed constant care. My mom, sister and I were all with him as much as we could be.

    He would have periods where he would be stable and I would feel like things would be fine. One weekend in January was like that. My boyfriend and I had gone to my parents' house that Thursday night and stayed there until Saturday night. On Sunday, I decided to go snowboarding with my friends instead of staying with him because I figured I spent every weekend with him and I would spend the next weekend with him as well.

    Sunday, I went snowboarding. Monday morning, on my way to work, I got a call from my mom that he was going to the hospital and I turned around and headed right there. I was with him when he passed away but I'll never forgive myself for not spending Sunday with him.

    It was just 1 more day but...I would give anything to have 1 more day with him now.

    I wrote about how I felt in May, you can read it here if you feel like it: http://lifeextravaganza.com/2011/05/20/forgetting-how-to-be-happy/

    I'm sorry you had to go through this. I can't say it'll get better but you'll learn to deal with the emotions. I'm still crying now as I write this and it's been 6 months. My heart goes out to you.

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  5. He knows you were there, and he's watching over you always. My nana passed away when i was a freshmen in HS, and I didn't see her a lot the last few years of her life, and i will always regret it. But one thing i do know is that she wouldn't want me to dwell on the negative, but relive all of the positive memories you have.
    If you need anything I'm here love!

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  6. I'm so sorry for your loss. I had a similar experience with my grandfather and I can really relate. He knows you were there and he knows that you love him. Don't let the regret make you feel bad-like others said, he would want you to be happy and having fun. I'll be thinking about you and your family.

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