Posts Tagged ‘death’

Thanks ‘T’ – This One Is For You

// October 7th, 2011 // 3 Comments » // life

The past 5 weeks I’ve been in Charleston with family for work, vacation, my father in law getting ill then my grandmother passing away. We came home on Tuesday and we weren’t home 24 hours before we got the call that Renee’s dad (who I call ‘T’) may not have much time with us in this life. I took her to the airport immediately. The kids and I came down earlier today (Thursday).  After dealing with Nanny’s death last week I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with another one-  Especially with Emma and Emerson,  they are smart, they both realize something is going on but obviously at that age they are still figuring out death- heck, they are at the beginning of figuring out life ( I’ll argue that we never figure out life, I haven’t- I live, I love and I do it with all my heart and soul).

I now sit in ‘T’s’ computer room, listening to him struggle to breathe a bit.  He’s taking morphine to relax but the bottom line is that his heart, lungs and other organs are slowly but surely beginning to fail.  Tonight we sat around and joked a bit, watched some football and then the ending of Road House.  Not intentionally but it was on.  I realize he is on morphine but I know he knew I was there-  I got the occasional, “where’s Emma and Emerson”.  I’m not so sure he’ll make it till the morning… so here I sit- more thoughts online.

I remember the first time I met Renee’s dad- I’m pretty sure he had no clue what the heck his daughter had just brought home. I was rough around the edges then- maybe I still am or like to come off that I am. Renee had always dated the preppy, clean cut dudes and she had a stable job. Me? The first time I met ‘T’ I had 5 ear rings, hair 1/2 way down my back, ripped jeans a tesla t-shirt on and I don’t even remember if I had a job. He made me nervous no doubt. He was retired military and in general came off as a hard-ass (which I can say is false- he’s a man who cares and loved a lot… just not a man of many words). Can you imagine his shock six weeks later when we told him we were getting married! I’m pretty sure he mumbled under his breath something to the effect of ‘not gonna happen’.

A few weeks later when I finally pawned enough stuff to buy a wedding ring I think he knew it was real. At Christmas he gave me my first handshake and 1/2 man hug with the traditional whisper in the ear “you hurt her and I’m coming for you”. Duly Noted. It wasn’t long before ‘T’ decided he liked me. There was no defining moment that we became friends, it may have been the 300th time that he told me to take my hat off during dinner. Can’t remember.  Eventually I could wear a hat and he never said a word.

‘T’ has raised 3 daughters-  I was the first to come into the family as a “son”.  So maybe there is some special forces at work there but no doubt we had a good time together.  Camping, NASCAR races, golf, cigars, antique sitting (this is where you sit and wait on your wives to antique shop- and we were the best) are just a few of the past times we enjoyed together for the past 20 years.  There is no doubt in my mind that ‘T’ loves his family and that includes me.  He told me many times, he called me son often.  I’ve been honored to know him and to have become a part of his family.  ’T', Know that I’ll take care of them just as you have… and yes, I still know that if I hurt ‘em you’ll come and get me.

Much love to you ‘T’.  You will be missed.


Waiting For Death

// October 1st, 2011 // Comments Off // life

***I wrote this late Friday night, in the process of proofreading Nanny passed away.  It was approx 11:45pm.  I’m thankful that she is at peace and in a much better place.  Thanks for the amazing support and outpouring of love-  we’re blessed to have amazing friends****

Have you ever waited on death? I haven’t until this past week. I don’t like it. I’m not saying I like for people to die suddenly but the waiting and not knowing part of death can seriously take a toll on your mind. It’s hard to focus. It’s hard to hear the phone ring. It’s hard to have conversations about when “it” will happen. No one knows.

This is another mind dump. Before I begin, my family and I really appreciate the comments and support that we’ve read and seen both here and on Facebook (my dad drove so much traffic here the other day I figured he has some good friends) on my previous post.

My grandmother, ‘nanny’, that I wrote the previously blog post is the catalyst behind a lot of thoughts lately but September in general has been a rough month for sickness and health issues for friends.

At dinner the other night my dad said, “I guess there is a down side to having close friends…” – How true! Having people in your life that you care about and do life with eventually makes us realize the pain of sickness and death. Getting older has something to do with it as well. Here’s what I’ve heard/seen/experienced the past two weeks (no exaggerations):

  • Nanny is given a few days to live.
  • My father-in-law is put in ICU, released and then back in the hospital
  • A best friend finds out his mom has cancer
  • A twitter friend had a punctured bowel and is septic (emergency surgery saved her life)
  • A friend in a fist fight with throat cancer, his second round

And I can guarantee you we could all add 100+ more people to that list right now. It’s too much. The part that really bothers me is that I can’t do anything about any of this. Not a thing. I’m what many people would call a ‘yes’ man or a ‘fixer’. I would do anything for my friends and their family. My heart hurts with them at the same time.

We’ve officially been told that nanny has 24-48 hours to live. It was evident in visiting with her today that they are right. She may not be here when I wake up. A part of me will be glad that its over. The last two days have been rough seeing her like this. I want her to be pain free and on to the golden gate bridge in the sky… Or is that golden roads? (the humor defense mechanism kicked in).

I will be sad that she is gone and no longer physically part of our lives, however I had an amazing insight while visiting her today. Who she was as a great-grandmother, nanny, mom, wife and friend will continue to live within her family and friends. As I watched her laying peacefully in the bed the silence was broken by the laughter of my kids and niece… It may sound corny but it was a joyful and sad moment at the same time. Life and death mixing… as one life is ending others are just beginning. Thanks for all the notes, comments and support. Its amazing to know just how many people my nanny knew and touched.

Death & Ramblings

// September 27th, 2011 // 8 Comments » // life

I included the word ramblings in the title because that is what this is. It’s a mind dump of the past week. I apologize if it seems too personal or possibly a bit confusing. I’ll try to make sense.

My first memory of death is January 1st, 1982. My papa died that night and it’s also the night Clemson won their National Football title. You know what is sad? I remember the Clemson championship game more than I remember anything about my papa dying. I wasn’t in the same town when he died because my parents left my sister and I with friends while they traveled to be with them. That’s it. I can’t recall the funeral. I can’t recall going to GA to even be at the funeral. I’m pretty sure at that time I became scarred and scared of death. The very idea of it.

Fast forward 9 years to 1991. My great grandfather known as grandpa died. This was my first real experience of someone close to me dying. I was living with grandpa, my nanny Beck (my mom’s mom) and aunt in Union, SC (dare I say I was attending school at the University of South Carolina- please don’t let that get out, my heart has always been with Clemson but USC let me go to school near my grandparents). He and I would take weekly trips to Burger King and to a classic car dealer. He was in his 80s but begged me to let him buy a 1967 convertible Fiat Spider (they had a green one and a red one). I would have but my nanny and aunt would have killed me. I still want that car- anyone know where I can get one??

One day sitting in English class he died. My uncle called to tell me and I’m pretty sure I cried for 48 hours. This wasn’t just my grandpa, he was my buddy- the person I hung out with daily. I had a pretty hard time with his death and still miss him. After that, I wanted nothing to do with death. If someone died I usually tried to stay away or just be funny- one of my defense mechanism is being silly and a comedian. Not in a rude way but in a way that I want everyone to smile and forget they are sad.

My nanny Beck died 4 years ago. She’s nanny Beck because my other grandmother is nanny Bradford. As a child I spent every summer with nanny Beck. She lived in Union, SC on 42 acres so it was usually a lot of fun spent in the woods. I was the only grandson so I was the most trouble… She loved all of us the same but I was the boy. :) When she died, i went in denial right away. Didn’t cry. As a matter of fact on my way to Union I stopped and bought an iPhone. Another defense mechanism is to buy stuff. Dumb, but I did. I didn’t shed a tear until that coffin was going in the ground… then it hit me, she’s gone. I lost it. It hurt. Death had broken my heart again.

So, here I am in 2011 and facing death again. My nanny Bradford isn’t expected to make it the next few days. It’s not totally unexpected, she’s had heart issues and dementia for the past few years. This time it’s different. I’m here. I’ve been able to see her daily and have enjoyed her smiling when she see’s me and even using what little energy she has to hug my neck with one arm.

I’m not sure I’m dealing with this better but I feel like I am. Truthfully, nanny Bradford’s death will sting. She’s the last grandparent I have, the last great grandparent that Emma and Emerson will have seen and known. That makes my heart hurt the most. I wanted my kids to know both of my grandmothers- they both lived and loved and thankfully passed that on to my mom and dad.

One other thing- because my mom’s mom died a few years back and about 3 hours away I didn’t see her last days. I didn’t see my mom and how she interacted with her mom. I know they had some time together but I don’t know what it was like. These past few days I’ve seen my dad interacting with his mom and one of the hardest things in this world to hear is your dad telling his mom that it’s ok to go… it is ok. She’s lived a great life and her body just can’t go on.

I’m not sure this whole post has a point so I’m going to make one right now… ready.

Love your friends and family. Tell them you love them. Enjoy the time you get to spend with them. Enjoy the loud and aggravating holidays. Love, love and love some more..