The Wick Has Been Lit

“The wick has been lit” my dad said to me this morning when I asked about my grandfather.

Let’s face it – we’re all going to die somehow, someday.  When does losing someone get easier?  My heart aches tremendously when someone dies, especially the unexpected ones.  One day you get a call that so-and-so that you’re extremely close to got in a terrible, fatal accident.  Your heart splits in two and you literally think you’re in a twisted dream, nightmare if you will.  When it all makes some sort of sense…you then start to wonder how the hell are you going to continue life without that person?  The most unexpected things really know how to turn a page in the book for us, or even skip right to the ending.

But how about when you’re watching someone die?  In some way, you feel like you’re dying with them.  You already feel like they’re dead.  They’re not breathing properly, they’re immobile, bed-ridden, and losing a bunch amount of weight, not eating.  Occasionally peeing their bed.  Hospital bed in the house, that is.  What does that sound like to you?  Death while living.  You actually get so used to someone dying that you don’t cry anymore tears until the day you’re standing before their body or ashes.  You get so used to someone dying that when you go to their house to visit them, you just kiss, hug, and ask them how they’re feeling today – and then walk away until you’re about to leave and you do the same steps again.  Or at least I do.  And to be honest…at this point, I don’t think I’m ashamed of it.  I did my part as a granddaughter, I feel like.  I called and I visited consistently.  I laid in that same at-home hospital bed with him.  I kissed him when he’s germy and whatever else, I hugged him.  I watch where I walk so I don’t get caught up on his oxygen line.  What the hell is the point of asking a dying person how they’re feeling?   “Oh, I’m dying.  How about you?”  They even probably think it’s a stupid question, an unnecessary one.  I’m not being harsh or insensitive, I’m being realistic.  Again I am watching my grandfather die.  I’m all out of grandfathers!  After this loss, I have no grandfathers to grieve over!  It’s a sucky feeling.  It’s a sucky feeling for multiple obvious reasons, but I love my grandparents and I don’t think I can watch another die.  But here I am, and I am.  I’m on the fence how I feel…my mother’s father passed away right before my eyes, will it happen again?  If I go there on Saturday or Sunday, will it happen?  Will he be waiting until then?  I believe that the dying somehow choose how they will pass.  Will I grow accustomed to people dying in my presence?

The thing is…no matter what, life is going to move right along.  Through the pain and sorrow, time doesn’t stop.  It may go by slow…but it goes.  So that’s another thing about dying, you want to kind of think the world is going to stop…but it doesn’t.  Life is going on with or without him, her, and even you.  As clear as that is, it’s so hard to accept.

The wick has been lit.  Hospice will now be around.  There’s more fluid in my grandfather’s lungs.  When he got up to go to the bathroom, he fell.  That’s when you know.  It’s taking over and he’s dying more now than he was a week ago.  That’s facts.

I’m not ready to actually imagine what it will be like without him.  Will I really walk into my grandparents house and not see him on his favorite reclining chair in his favorite spot, where his hospital bed replaced?  Will I really not see anymore useless gadgets and purchases around and outside of the house?  Will I really not get the cold shoulder anymore for not calling often?  Wait.  Will I really be without my grandfather, and will my grandfather really be without his favorite grandchild of four?


This past weekend the family went to Canada for my cousin, Mark’s, wedding.  It was a great time, unfortunately we had some missing cousins there this year due to financial issues, baby being born, finals, this that and third, you know.  And of course, my grandfather was missing as well.  He stayed at home and had the best company ever, he even stayed up until 3 in the morning Saturday night.  I was back at the hotel sleeping before that time on Saturday night, and I was drunk!  Anyway,  I missed him greatly.  We all did.  I actually started crying at the wedding at the thought of him, I couldn’t wait to get back to Boston to see him again.  We return home on Sunday, and then we are told that they had trouble waking him up, his walk is getting weaker and he was in so much pain, he kept squirming around because his back was killing him – I finally just grabbed his hand.  The next day, Monday, after work I head over there.  I feel like I need to start getting my goodbyes in, so I kicked it off…

It was a perfect moment, we were alone in the room while he was on his bed.  He said “I don’t even know what I’m thinking” Bang, I started talking…

I said to him:  Well, I just want you to know that I think about you all the time.  All the time.  Every day I’m hoping and praying a little more than I was the day before.  And although I know there is going to come a day that I am without you, wish I wouldn’t have to be, I understand that it’s life and it’s a course we have to take.

So you keep kicking until you can’t anymore.

For the next series of this post, click here.


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