31 Days of Aging Grace ~ The Grace To Die Well

We entered ICU and his eyes lit up like always when he sees someone he loves… which is just about everybody.

My husband, two youngest and myself, each had a moment with him… a hug… a few words.

The nurse told us he’d been in and out of delirium.  Not to expect much.  But he seemed totally present those few minutes.

He finally told me “honey, you kids go on now… have fun… I’ll be ok”.  And with that his eyes went far away, his hands gestured upward, he spoke words I couldn’t understand.  The nurse said we should go.

I’d never seen death before.  Didn’t know what to expect.

I felt like this would pass… he’d feel better in the morning and then we’d have our usual summer visit.

But it didn’t pass.

They moved him to a private room… out of ICU… off all life support systems.

They told us we could stay with him as much as we wanted.  Visiting hours didn’t apply.

I leaned over, kissed his cheek, told him I loved him… he took my hand.  He squeezed hard.  I was startled… that he was so strong… his hand… big and strong like always. 

Family came and went… early the next morning, so did he.

It was a holy moment…  that moment a soul returns to the Father.

I would tell my mom later it felt like a privilege… to spend that last moment of life with him… a gift.

I’d never seen death before.  Didn’t know what to expect.

Later my youngest son would tell me, “I’m not so afraid to die anymore, mom… because when I get there Papa will be waiting and he’ll say “well, come on in Dan,  we’ve been waiting for you!” and he will hug me”.

The funeral was a simple, outdoor gathering… just the type of thing Papa would like.  A few chairs for local family turned into a standing room only affair, as word spread and friends arrived.

A man I didn’t know, perhaps in his 80s, referred to my grandfather as his “adopted grandpa”.  The ten-year old neighbor boy was there… some left flowers but he left his picture… so Papa would know his buddy from across the street came.

My grandfather… he’d held each of my sons… and they grew up to know and love him.

His whole life was about love… because he had nothing else to give.

I’d never seen death before… but if it had to be, I’m glad it was Papa’s example.  He left the world the same way he lived in it… with graciousness and love… courage and peace…

… all the way… to the end of the race.

linked with The Nester and the 31 Days series of posts.

3 thoughts on “31 Days of Aging Grace ~ The Grace To Die Well

  1. Pingback: 31 Days of Aging Grace « Heart's Home

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