This afternoon, my Grandpa Joey passed away.
We were told yesterday afternoon that he likely wouldn't make it through the night, so we knew it was coming. But knowing really doesn't make it any easier. Before today, all four of my grandparents were living. I realize that I'm quite an anomaly, to be 35 with four living grandparents (especially considering that my parents were not firstborns and did not have me at a young age). And in my adulthood, we could see this coming. Yet still, it does not feel any easier at this moment.
Grandpa Joe was my Father's father. Because of the paternal lineage bond, losing him really feels like I've somehow lost my last link to my Dad. My sister said she feels the same way, so it can't be all that crazy.
My heart is breaking for my brother. He is the last in the line, unless he someday has a son. He's only 26, but he's lost his Grandfather and Father.
My heart is breaking for my Aunt Louise. In less than a year's time, she unexpectedly lost her husband and now her father.
And my heart is truly broken for my little Grandma Fran. She is a woman who has so much loss in her life. First the sudden death of her only son, then the sudden deaths of her two precious son-in-laws, and then the death of her husband of nearly 70 years. I can't imagine what it is like to go to bed for the first time in nearly 70 years and not wake up with someone. Even in the nursing home, and with my grandfather's spiraling dementia, their love was still so evident.
About 6 years ago, I sat down with my grandparents and Aunt Louise and wrote down our family history and stories. I am going to spend the next few days having the Mister scan in family photos, and writing up a family history of sorts. So that my children can have it for their children.
I am concerned about Hatfield. She remembers the years we lived in Milwaukee quite well, and all the time we spent with Grandpa and Grandma (her Great-Grandparents.) She took the news very quietly, but her face turned quite red. Once I get the little ones to bed, I will spend some one-on-one girl time with her. Having Uncle Gary die broke her heart, and I'm worried about how she is processing all of this.
I am so proud of my little sister, Stephanie. She is always so strong in times like these, and she handles the responsibility of inter-family communication with grace and poise.
Tonight I'm going to have a glass of wine and a huge cry. The next few days are going to be so difficult. I cam barely stomach the thought of having to see my grandmother in such pain. Tomorrow I am going to wake up and LOVE my family with all that I have. Because as I see with my grandfather, at the end of your life, family and love is all that matters.