Sunday, September 1, 2013

Grandfather Beck Dies

My grandfather Beck was very ill and was in a local hospital. I was working the daylight shift and thought I would stop by and check on him on my way home after my shift. When I saw how fragile and ill he was, I decided to stay with him until my dad came to visit. Dad usually came to visit in the evening and I would leave. I didn’t think that Granddad should be left alone.
As I waited, I talked to him even though he couldn’t talk back or I just held his hand. It was difficult being alone with him. I could tell he was critically ill and was only a matter of time before he passed away. He was ninety-seven years old at the time and didn’t have a large health reserve left.

When I didn’t come home, my wife started to call around looking for me and finally found me. This was before cell phones and I kept putting off calling her, expecting my dad at any time and I could leave. I explained why I was there and that I was surprised that Dad hadn’t visited yet. I explained that I was planning on staying with my granddad until someone else came. I didn’t want him to be alone when he died.

I sat and waited. Winter’s evening sun waned and slowly turned to twilight and was creeping to darkness. Finally my Mom showed up and relieved me. We talked for a bit before I left the hospital. I found out that my uncle Merle had stopped by to visit earlier. The nurse that he talked with said that Granddad could be around for a week or so and he passed on that information to my dad. My dad decided not to come to visit. Merle had been misinformed and it bothered me that my dad believed his brother and an anonymous nurse over me, his son. I am a nurse as well and had been a Navy corpsman for years before that. I think my judgment of my grandfather, who I knew well, against a nurse to whom Granddad was a stranger.
I told Mom I had to get home, eat, shower, and get some sleep, because I was to work in the morning. Mom took over the vigil and Dad never came in to see his dad.
Granddad passed away before morning and Dad didn’t get to see his Dad alive. I felt bad for my dad. He listened to his misinformed brother and wasn’t there when his Dad died.
Granddad had prearranged his funeral, from each song to the casket and limousines. The one thing that he could not arrange was the weather. Due to the extreme cold weather and the amount of snow, the graveside ceremony was cancelled. There were drifts of snow at the cemetery and the cold was so intense, being outside wasn’t safe. and we gathered at the rectory hall and had the service and the meal together.

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