It was a very cold Thursday in late December.
One of my very best friends had come to stay with us. She is 2 yrs younger than I am. My Aunt J.
I was 15. She was 13. My brother was 7. Grandpa lived on our basement.
My mom had left for the evening. To her weekly bowling league.
My brother was asleep. J and I were laying in bed. Talking about boys and school. I missed her. When we moved to Wisconsin from Illinois there was a huge loss. We had lived next to my grandparents for years. And now we were 100 miles away.
We both heard the crash at the same time. And then we heard a low mumble from my grandpa.
When I was 5 my grandpa, my hero, had a stroke that left him paralyzed on his left side. I was his princess. He never called me anything but Princess. And it was ok.
The crash was the inevitable...he had fallen. J and I laid in bed trying to decide who would go first down the stairs to check on him. It wasn't her grandpa. We were afraid to find him naked in the bathroom. Her mom, my grandma, was my grandpas first wife. Even though he wasn't her grandpa she always called him Grandpa.
We decided to go down stairs together. We would find out if he fell in the bathroom together.
He wasn't in the bathroom. Instead he was monkeying with his fish tank and fell on the tank. Little did we know at that time he had a small heart attack. J and I earned up the mess. We were able to save a few of his fish. He had broken the tank and we were able to get the glass taken care of before my mom came home.
Mom stayed up with him all night. She was a nurse and was able to care for his wounds and get him comfortable.
The next day we went to town to get KFC. It was his request. It was New Year's Eve Eve...Before we left my mom made certain he was comfortable and okay.
When we came home there were fresh snow tracks going up our lane.
My mom immediately panicked. She was mad. Very mad. He called an ambulance and didn't need one she thought. There was a message on our answering machine from her boss at the hospit she worked at. She needed to come right away. She got the 3 of us situated and left for the nearest hospital 30+ minutes away.
My grandpas dying words were "Win (my mom) you have for to call My Princess. I have to tell her what channels to tape so C can watch his shows. I need to talk to her.'
My mom insisted he rest and not talk. He needed to rest. Instead he became agitated and upset. My mom called the house to see if we were still up.
She didn't share that he was going to die. Just said 'G your papa needs to talk to you. Keep it short. He needs to rest and save his energy to breathe..'
She handed him the phone.
'Princess turn tv to channel 8. My fish food is on floor by my chair. And always remember how proud I am of you for choosing to be baptized. And for making a choice at 14 that most children wouldn't consider...' There was silence. And he was choked up and crying. 'Princess...I love you.' He handed my mom the phone. He closed his eyes and never woke up. His last breathe was around 11:45 pm on New Year's Eve.
I never heard my grandpa call me princess again. He was my everything. He was the first man in my life who loved without hurting me. He was there everyday after school. I didn't know it then, but the hole left in my heart would be unbearable for years to come.
What happened after I returned to school was a blessing and heart wrenching all in one.
More on that in next post....
Until then Happy New Year.
I am off to see Sinbad in Chicago and celebrate my 20th anniversary. It was almost a year ago when I wasn't sure this day would come...