I Saw Him Die

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A true story written from my perspective the day my grand-father passed away.

Submitted: December 18, 2013

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Submitted: December 18, 2013

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I had been at the hospital for hours. Just sitting in that same chair. Waiting. I had to be there. This was a moment I refused to miss. This definitely trumped football practice, it was the first time I’d miss a practice in four years.

I had walked in to see him. He was unconscious, and barely breathing. I wanted to say something, anything, but the words wouldn’t come out. My Uncle Joe and my father were there with me, they had already made their peace with the old fart. God I remember how that used to make him laugh.

He was their step father, but they loved him all the same. They were close with their biological father, but that didn’t make Grandpa Bob any less a father to him. I had always grown up knowing him as grandfather. I was lucky. I had three grandfather’s come birthdays and Christmas.
I suppose this day wasn’t really a surprise. He was seventy seven after all, there was a reason he was in a assisted living facility. He had a stroke about a year before that day.

So there I was. Sitting in the waiting room and doing just that. Waiting. For what? For a miracle? I knew better than that, but part of me still hoped. I had been in this exact spot years ago. Doing the exact same thing. The second my phone rang I knew how this would end. Yet despite all that I clung on to that small hope, that small prayer.

It felt like hours I sat in that chair before finally I stood. “I’ll be right back,” I told my uncle and my dad. They just nodded and I walked into my grandfather’s hospital room.
“Hey grandpa,” I said, “can you hear me?” I laughed, “God I really hope you can. I’ve never been very good at goodbyes.” Then I just stared at the floor, searching for the right words “I love you gramps. I don’t pray a whole lot but I’ve been praying nonstop since I heard…” again I trailed off, “I guess I just want you to know that I love you, and I hope that you find peace. That you….” inside I cursed myself, “you know they make this look so easy in the movies.” I knew what I felt but I had no words that could express it.

I carefully walked over to the bed, and very gently wrapped my arms around my grandfather’s shoulders.

He felt very thin. In life he had always been so broad, so strong. He was a very rugged man. Every year he went hunting out at the shack, ice fishing out on the lake. We would go four wheeling, snowmobiling, go sledding with the dog. Yet now, now in the grips of death the strength I had seen in him all my life was drained from him. He was frail, his body appeared weak and his skin sagged as his chest struggled to rise and fall.

“I love you.” I said one last time. Then I walked away, silent tears streaming down my face. I sat down in the waiting room and just stared off into space. I don’t know how long I sat there, it felt like an eternity before the doctor came to the waiting room.
“It looks like it’s going to be any minute now,” he said, “do any of you want to be there?” We rose to our feet and followed him.

We were there, just waiting. It was enough to make you go crazy. Until finally, he stopped breathing. He was gone. Though I could hear him speak, I don’t remember what the doctor said. I don’t remember the time of death. I don’t remember my father and uncle leaving the room, but I stayed. I stood there, as Death himself took my grandfather. I stayed, and saw nothing. He was just gone.

 
 


© Copyright 2020 Tim Vallie. All rights reserved.

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