Back around November 8th, I got a call from my Dad that my Grandfather was in the hospital. (FYI he lives in Las Vegas) From what I know, he called an ambulance because he was having trouble breathing. Upon admission into the ER, the stopped breathing and was put on a ventilator.
My Dad, his brother, and my Aunt (my Uncle's wife) all flew out to Vegas that Saturday (the 10th) to see what was going on and to make sure things were taken care of. They had my Grandfather sedated so that he wouldn't pull the ventilator out, but when my Dad and crew went to visit, they would wake him up. He was unable to talk, but would communicate with them by writing things down.
Of course they found out he had no health care proxy and nothing written down about his wishes. Luckily they were able to communicate and ask him these things in the event that something did happen.
They were supposed to leave Vegas on Thursday the 15th, but he was still on the ventilator at that point and they were waiting for answers. They were going to try weaning him off of the ventilator to see how he responded to that. They did try weaning him I think on Friday and he did really well until they turned it way down-then he struggled and was gasping for air. So the outlook turned grim as the doctors informed them that he probably wouldn't be able to live without the ventilator. They were going to try one more attempt by using CPAP on the following day. Well, again that attempt failed. Unfortunately they had some decisions to make, which had to be extremely difficult for them.
The ventilator can only stay in for 7-10 days. If they're unable to wean you off of it, then they have to do a tracheotomy (put a breathing tube surgically in your throat). My Grandpa decided that he didn't want to have a trach put in and he also decided he did not want to be resuscitated if anything happened to him (DNR).
I got the call Sunday 11/18 around dinner that the end might be near. The ultimate decision was that they would gradually turn down the ventilator until it was off. They gave him morphine so that he was comfortable through the process. Once the ventilator was off, he breathed on his own for roughly a half hour and then he passed away. My Dad, Uncle, and Aunt were all in his presence at the time.
It's hard losing someone you love no matter when it happens, but 4 days before Thanksgiving really makes it difficult.
We postponed the services because the cremation process in Las Vegas takes forever! He wasn't even cremated until last weekend which is 2 weeks after he passed! So the services were yesterday and it was very nicely done. We had a mass at a church in Buffalo. So many people came-it was amazing! And my Grandpa's sister did a very touching eulogy off of the top of her head! Then we went to the cemetery afterwards and we all gathered in the chapel for a prayer and military service ("Taps" and flag folding which was very neat to watch).
Of course the guilt kicked in as soon as I got word he was in the hospital. I only saw my Grandpa once a year or so if I was lucky...and that's since I was a child (he lived in Vegas since before my parents were married!)! He wasn't a big talker on the phone so phone calls between us didn't happen very frequently. In fact, I feel terrible saying that I don't even remember the last time I spoke with him. My Dad talked with him almost daily so I'd get updates through him. But now I wish I would have taken a few minutes every week or so just to say hello to him.
I'm so very thankful that my Grandpa was around as long as he was. I'm so glad he got to meet Gabe several times and that he was there at our wedding. I'm also thankful that he got to meet Avery a few times as well. Of course it saddens me that he never met Cassandra, but he did see plenty of pictures of her!
Here are a few pics I have on my computer of my Grandpa
|4 generations-Grandpa, Dad, Me, Avery (1wk old)|
|Grandpa and Avery (on my Grandpa's B-day)|
|4 Generations (Avery 1yr old)|
|4 Generations (Avery 2yrs old)|
"Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy"~Eskimo Proverb