When my grandpop passed away in 1997, it devastated me. I had received a phone call from my Dad at the beginning of May that my Pop was loaded with cancer, and that the oncologist had given him a time frame of 3 weeks to 3 months, at best.
I had just come off of working a month and a half straight without a day off because my coworker had pneumonia. We worked in a rest home and shared the 3-11 shift. She had told me the day before I got the news that she owed me big, and when I took my vacation time, she would cover my two weeks.
I talked with my then-husband, and we decided it was best to get to WV sooner rather than later, and set about getting time off. I called my coworker, and explained the situation and she told me to just go and she’d cover me. So R (hubby) and I picked our dates and made plans.
A week or so later (and 2 days before we were to leave), I go into work, and my supervisor tells me that coworker decided she does not want to work all of those days. She then says that she cannot find anyone else willing to cover my days, so I will not get my vacation time approved.
I swear, my brain fell out at that moment. I couldn’t wrap my head around what she was saying. I just looked at her and said, “If you think for one second that I’m skipping this trip, you’re crazy.”
She rebutted with, “If you go, you’ll be fired!” My eyes got big as dinner plates. “Seriously? Everyone here gets to take their vacation time, except me? Who is the ONLY one who covered all of T’s days while she was sick?? Who covers other shifts, often working doubles? Who comes in early so YOU can leave??? Me! That’s who!”
I was about to explode. I told her that I quit and I tossed the keys at her and told her to enjoy her evening and I walked out, got in my car, and drove home. Little did she know, but I’d been on the hunt for another job. I’d just finished schooling and had been interviewing and had gotten a call THAT afternoon that I had a job!
So, it was Friday evening and we were to leave Sunday, because I was supposed to work Friday and Saturday night. I called my Nan to let her know we were on our way. My dad was already there.
We spent two weeks with them. My brother and his family came in as well. It was such a sad time, watching him in his final days, witnessing my Nanny trying to cope with it all. We had to leave on May 31st, as I was to start my new job on June 2nd.
It was SO hard to leave. Hugging him and saying goodbye was dreadful.. knowing it would be my last time in doing so. I cried the whole way back to Massachusetts.
I started my new job on June 2nd. The 5th was my birthday. My mom was now in WV at my Nan and Pops. As I readied myself for work, I expected a phone call from my mom. She always called me on my birthday and she always sent flowers as well.
I went all day and heard from no one. I had the worst feeling in my heart. I knew why I’d not heard from anyone…
Upon arriving home, then-hubby opened the door for me and when I saw his face, I knew. All he said to me was, “I talked to your mom a bit ago…. I’m so so sorry…”
I didn’t even make it into our apartment. I collapsed in a heap in the hall way. I couldn’t breathe. The tears poured down my face like never before..
The days and weeks that followed were filled with such sadness. I cried myself to sleep at night. I was so upset to miss his funeral. Every one kept telling me that I was there for him when it mattered, and to not fret over it.
My Nan later told me that at about 6:30 that morning, he had woken up. It was the first time in days, and he just wanted to know what day it was.. when she said it was Thursday, he said, “No.. what’s the date?” She said, “June 5th.”
She said he closed his eyes, smiled a small smile.. and by 7:45 he was gone. She thinks he waited for a special day.
I don’t know about that, but I didn’t celebrate my birthday much in the years that followed. It just wasn’t a happy day for me any more.
I go visit their grave often. He was not my biological grandfather, but there’s no way I could’ve loved him more than I did.
Yesterday, I was sitting in the Walmart parking lot waiting for my kid and my hubby, when all of a sudden I was swamped in sadness. My heart filled with sorrow and felt so very heavy, and the one thought in my head was that my Pop never got to see this small town get it’s Walmart.
Random. So so random. I could hear his voice in my head and I had to smile. I miss him SO much. I think it’s time to go pay a visit and bring some Fall flowers up for them…
He had a daughter. I’ve not seen her since 1982 or so. I adored her. No one knows where she is or what became of her. Endless googling turns up nothing.
I’d love to find her. I’d assume she’s in her 60s by now. Time is crazy…..