My father in law passed away a little less than a year ago. Last year at this time, all of his sons and grand children gathered together at his home as they have for many years. He was old (89) and frail, but he was right there with us. He spent time with each of his children and grandchildren. We left grateful for this holiday, but could not help but wonder how many more Christmas weeks we would all be spending in Florida with Grandpa.
Not more than a few weeks later Grandpa slipped and fell, and then he fell again, this time he blacked out and ended up at the hospital. The news was not good. There was blood in his brain and there was nothing they could do for a man of his age in his condition. My husband (the eldest) flew down to be with his mother. He went directly to the hospital when his flight landed, expecting the worst. Instead he found his father sitting up in bed eat a turkey sandwich. He was as shocked as he was relieved.
Back at his parents’ house that night he and his mom began thinking about rehab and planning for his father who had it seemed once again beaten the odds. The next morning, while they were making arrangements, his mother got the call. He was gone. Looking back, my husband recalled that as they left his hospital room the night before, his dad had winked at his son and blown a kiss to his wife of fifty plus years,and he believed that was his dad’s way of telling him that he was ready.
A year later the cast is much the same, except of course for Grandpa. Grandma told all of the grandchildren she was waiting to donate his clothes until they could each pick out something(s) of his. The night my family (finally!) arrived, the drawers were thrown up and the closet was emptied. There was laughter and joy as each of his sons and all of his grandchildren modeled various items and then chose the things they wanted to have from Grandpa. Looking at this picture, I know Grandpa is proud of his boys and his family, and I think somewhere he is smiling at these children he adored and they are surely smiling right back at him.