My grandfather died.
Despite us not being close, I was still sad. Watching someone you've grown up with disintegrate like that...it's tough. Here is what happened....
Papa had been in really crappy health for a while. Having been a smoker since he was 7, he eventually had to quit a few years ago because of his emphysema. He also was prone to strokes & aneurysms. A few years ago the doctors thought he may have lung cancer, so they did some biopsies. This routine continued for a few years: maybe cancer! Oh wait! No, it's just scar tissue!
In September, it came back as being 100% positive that he had lung cancer. None of us knew really what was going to happen as far as treatment or prognosis, so all bazillion of us in our family tried to just be around as much as we could (give or take a few).
Then, in January, he decided to have a surgery that was not highly recommended. In fact, the survival rate was only about 10%, given his current state of health. But that dipshit went ahead & had it done. You can pretty much tell where this is going.
He did survive the surgery. Oh yeah guess what else: IT WASN'T CANCER! Lovely. Anyway, he was resting up at Duke for a few weeks. I even went & saw him, which is more than any of his 9 other grandchildren did during this time (granted, most of them live over an hour away & the majority of them are married, have kids, or are druggies with no mode of transportation). He seemed really out of it, & he looked like complete crap. Which is expected, being in the hospital & everything. While I was there visiting, the doctor even said that he could be sent to a nursing home by their house for his rehabilitation process! Joy!
However, while at the nursing home, his chest tubes wouldn't drain. His food would also go down his windpipe, so he had to get put on a feeding tube. Eventually, he had to go back to Duke. A few days after being released from Duke, his lung collapsed at home. My grandmother called my aunt, uncle, & cousin who live on the same property to come over, & then called 911. He coded in the ambulance but was revived by the time he got to the hospital. Once there, he was sedated & heavily drugged.
The day after that was when I came into the picture again. I had a few days off from work so I went home. I practically lived at the hospital, being there almost as much as my grandmother (who wouldn't leave). This whole time he was sedated, but supposedly could still hear us. This whole thing became somewhat of a family reunion for everyone, as family emergencies are prone to do. Aside from a few people (grandmother, aunt) we all knew what was going to eventually happen. As I told my mother when I headed back to Cary, "See you in a few days."
And I was right. That Sunday the doctor met with my parents & all of my dad's siblings & their spouses. That was when it was confirmed that my grandmother was going to have to make the call when to take the ventilator out because he could not stay as he was. I came back that day & just hung around the hospital & drove around with some of my cousins. Monday was basically the same. However, Monday night was bad for him & my grandmother decided to have the ventilator taken out Tuesday evening, so everyone could be there.
My family is huge, so we completely overtook the waiting room. Everyone was really anxious, but still in good spirits. The doctor said that it would only take a few minutes, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. It took forever. To the point where it seemed like he may bounce back & my grandmother started getting excited (it was so painful to watch). Everyone left except for my grandmother, my cousin Joey (not his name), & me because it was getting so late.
Eventually we tried to sleep, & then around 3:30am there was a call to the waiting room & my grandmother hurried up to the ICU. I followed a few minutes later, not wanting her to be by herself. The nurse told me that it probably wouldn't take much longer, so I called Joey & my parents (who live close to the hospital). Joey called his mom, too. The two of us went into the room with my grandmother & we all cried & held hands. My parents showed up so I stepped out because I was so emotionally drained. A little while later Joey's mom came, too. A few hours later my mother left for work (she took a half-day) & Joey & I got some breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Then we tried to sleep again, which was fail. Around 9 I had to peace out because my body was going numb. I passed my mom going into the hospital as I was leaving, & wished her luck. Two hours later she called me to tell me that he had died.
I'm not going to lie: I was kind of pissed that I hung out at the hospital all that time & he waits to die when I'm gone. Asshole.
My dad (who had already started planning the funeral with his only responsible sibling, Aunt Norah [not her name], her husband Tom [not his name], & my mother) got everything rocking & rolling. My cousin Amber (not her name) & I went through pictures to make a slideshow. A slideshow I basically got no credit for because while I found most of the pictures, Amber scanned them & put them on the disc. Whatever. It was still fun. I'm going to post them all later.
Overall, the service was crap. There was Southern gospel sung by some of my relatives. There was the pastor barely being able to make it through a complete sentence without stumbling over his words. There was also the pastor turning the funeral into a plea for everyone to accept Jesus into their hearts not just so they can spend eternity with God, but to do it so you can see my grandfather again. I am serious. He also said that babies cry when they're born because they see what kind of world we live in & want nothing to do with it. I say it is because they're naked, cold, & have a bunch of people pulling on them. I'm right.
I was a pallbearer with 5 of my other male cousins (there are actually 7 of us but 1 was in the process of moving back from Florida & couldn't make it) & let me just say that that junk is HEAVY. After the mausoleum portion, we went to my grandparent's church (where we have all of our Thanksgiving family reunions) & had a very nice meal where everything had pork in it. Because we are Southern & Everything Must Have Pork.
P.S. I don't eat pork.
I went back to Cary that day but on the way there I went to see my grandmother (she lives on the way). She was there alone & just seems lost. We just sat there & talked a while, & it was nice. Eventually my parents, Uncle Rob (not his name), Aunt Norah & her husband, Aunt Norah's first husband, & Joey all came by. A few hours later I left & just relaxed at my place.
Everything is back to normal, basically. My mother said that my grandmother is really lonely & doesn't want to change the sheets because they smell like my grandfather. It's going to take time, but she's a resilient old bird & has a bazillion people who will be there for her. My father, on the other hand, hasn't cried once. He wasn't close to my grandfather either & seems to be compartmentalizing. So my mother & I are kind of waiting to see what will happen with that.
Sorry this was such a long post. There was so much to say, & I just didn't feel like dealing with it right after it happened. Also, sorry about any typos. Don't feel like proof-reading.
P.S. I didn't include the part where my parents (& to a degree Aunt Norah) got in a fight with one of my cousins because it's really stupid. Like so stupid that I didn't realize it was a real fight for a little bit despite the fact that I was standing there for almost the whole thing.
P.P.S. I also forgot to include where one of my uncles showed up to the funeral drunk. He didn't act it, but you could smell it.