If you follow me on Twitter, or if we are friends on Facebook, you are likely aware of the events of the last week or so. In the event that you aren’t though, let me catch you up. Last Saturday morning, FIL passed away somewhat unexpectedly. I tweeted about it a few times. Gave vague Facebook updates, but really I didn’t say much. I especially didn’t write about it here because that would make it too real. This is a very very bad time for us.
Last Friday, Hub spent the whole day with FIL, carrying him out of and then back in to the house after 5 or so hours at the pain management clinic. They came home with a plan, new meds and with hope that he would be able to make it out of his chair to shower. We left a message with his primary doctor to get a prescription for a wheelchair so he could go outside with the kids. Hub was looking in to what needed to be done to build a ramp outside for him and was going to call Hospice for home care on Monday morning. Hub got him set up with the new meds—2 patches and a dissolvable pill. He made him drink a Boost because he’d barely eaten or had anything to drink all day.
The kids had been bugging us to have a fire in the yard complete with marshmallows and so we did. Hub and I even had a few drinks. We were optimistic that FIL would be feeling better in the morning. The whole week was just too much for him to handle pain wise and he’d had conversations with Hub and me both through tears. He wasn’t even dragging himself down the stairs and outside to smoke. If this didn’t work, nothing would. By the time we were done outside and had the kids in bed, it was midnight. We closed up the house and Hub checked in on FIL before we went to bed. He was comfortable, didn’t need anything and they argued about him putting his oxygen on per usual. We went to bed.
I am usually the first one up on Saturdays. I can’t sleep in anymore and I have things to do before taking the girls to gymnastics. Because of our late night though, I laid in bed and Hub got up first. He immediately went to check on FIL. I heard him asking “Dad? Dad??” and part of me knew and got out of bed, but until he came in to the living room white as a ghost and told me that he thought his dad was dead did I believe it. I can’t explain the feeling that came over me; my knees weak and I knew I had to sit down. I did, but only for a brief second. Hub was calling 911 and the kids were waking up. We decided that I would take them out of the house, earlier than planned, take them to breakfast, and basically just have a normal Saturday. We didn’t want them around when the coroner came or when police or ambulances showed up. We left in our pajamas and changed in the McDonalds bathroom. People probably thought we were vagabonds. I didn’t care.
Hub called our friend M who has an undertaker friend. M came to sit with Hub and helped him make phone calls. Hub’s aunt came and sat as well. Police arrived and confirmed that it looked like a massive heart attack. It took hours, but the undertaker finally came and took him away. I kept a brave face for the kids, and just focused on getting through the morning. I don’t think they suspected a thing. M’s wife insisted that I bring the kids to her house after gymnastics and I did, and we all had lunch. Hub met us and ate a bit, and then we took the kids home. We had them sit on the couch, and Hub told them what had happened.
If I thought before that Lucy’s cries in the hospital after we told her MIL had passed away would haunt me for the rest of my life, I certainly never expected things could be worse. Bud handled MIL’s death with grace. Both he and Lu were hysterical about FIL. I get it too. He was their (especially Bud’s) very best buddy. More than a grandpa. More than a friend. Their everyday life was not just Mom and Dad, but was Mom, Dad and Grandpa. In an instant, our entire family dynamic changed.
We spent Saturday night with Hub’s family, and the kids went back there on Sunday while we planned the funeral. It was odd taking our kids somewhere to be watched…they’ve always just stayed home. We planned the funeral, flew Hub’s sister in, had the funeral on Wednesday and basically went about our everyday business. We could hardly believe on Saturday that it had already been a week. A whole week. And now we have the whole rest of our lives to figure out.
We moved in with FIL in 1999. I wasn’t keen on living with my boyfriend’s father, but it was cheap and it was a house. He retired in 2004 when Bud was born to help us out with childcare costs and continued watching both kids a few days a week until Lucy was mobile and it was too much for him. After that though, he was our nighttime sitter, before and after school care—Liv’s prime occupier. We’ve known nothing else for 12 years. I don’t know how to manage my family without that third set of hands. Even as his condition worsened, he was able to be home for Bud and Lucy after school. He couldn’t watch Liv anymore, but that was ok.
Now? Now we have nothing. We were more than blessed. We’re both kind of asking “now what?”. Hub doesn’t know how to live a life without his dad with whom he lived for 30 or his 35 years. My kids don’t know how to live life without grandpa, the ever present from the moment they were born. I don’t know how to be in a house that is so quiet and feels so empty without the TV blaring, or oxygen machine going, or someone standing in the exact one place that I need to stand with no sense of the fact that they are in the way. I am not a fan of this at all.
And the fact that it still seems so unreal. How much is it going to hurt when it’s really real?
My guess is a lot.