I keep thinking he'll be right back...or he will call me after i get out of work
(belchertown MA USA)
But, I know he isnt going to be back, and my phone will ring, but it will not be his voice I hear. He died on Dec.6th, at 12:10 am. He died the day before he and my mom met for the first time in 1965. He was 66 years old. He had cancer, bone and lung. But he NEVER told anyone.
The doctors told me cooly that it had been inside of him for at least 18 months. Dad told me he had 'cold' he couldn't shake. Then it was pneumonia. Then he left the house. He got in his truck, said he would be back, and went to the doctors for a follow up. I waited. I waited. I waited until 830pm for him to come home.
My mom came home and asked where dad was; I said he left for the docs' for some antibiotic. She said he probably stopped to see a friend on his way home. I left, and at 9pm he called me; and said for some reason he was transferred from his doctors to the ER. and could I bring him some food, he was starving...
So I did.
And we sat. And we talked. And I made him pinky swear that he would NOT get this sick again, without telling me!!! He started crying. I asked why, he said he was sorry for not telling me he had pneumonia. One week before his admittance to the hospital, he was at my house, winded, but joking. Putting on a Halloween mask, flipping me the bird on my couch. 7 days later, he was on a gurney. Eating a sandwich and crying.
I stayed until 330 when he got settled in his room. I don't remember driving home, or going to my moms, but I must have.
I got up early the next morning, and my truck died. My truck was the car me and my dad wrenched on. He was in the hospital, and it died. I drove it as best I could to my moms. She drove me to the hospital.
The doctor told me he had a stroke shortly after I left in the early morning after he was admitted. That he had it while he slept. He looked at me, and couldnt understand why his right arm didnt work any more. He slurred out "how come?" and flopped his arm on to his chest. I told him he had a stroke, and that we were waiting for him to go get a CAT scan to see why his 'brain went on vacation'. He and I immediately started practicing his alphabet. He was left handed as a kid, and went right back to it, immediately. writing with a sharpy, at first on himself, then on paper. We counted. I held my hand inside his big strong caloused hand and we felt the numbers. He did this for me when I was little. It was odd. He smiled. He said he loved me. And then he told me what I needed to do around the house for mom. Bills, generator, oil, garage, his 64 comet caliente that he was restoring had to be put back in the garage...we were planning on him coming home, and pointing at me, to be his hands and do what needed to be done.
He was a mechanic, a fire fighter, an artist, a mural painter, a patent holder, an inventor. A brilliant man with a GED. One who instilled in me the importance of reading, writing, and learning. No limits to what I could be, or do. No cubby holes for me; jobs for men only? Not so for me. He chose to spell my name in the masculine. I was born during the equal rights of the 60s. The bra burnings, the marches. The equal work for equal pay era. He inspired me to be everything I ever dreamt.
And then the CAT scan came back. And then the rock hit me. And then the DNR came. And he signed it with a flourish. His last signature. Legible and dark. With a sharpie I stole from a nurse who didnt have the mind to give him one, instead a pen, that did not work.
When she asked if he understood he 'could die in your sleep'...he sat up and screamed..DUH!
He wanted to go home. He was in the hospital 8 days. He looked at me and said as if he were drunk "C'mon Kel BRING ME HOME ALREADY". I told him I would arrange it, but it might take a bit. He got up, almost tearing out his IV, and said Give me my pants, get my truck, we are going now.
It was all I could do to keep him there. I arranged for the nurse to get us some sort of social worker, to arrange for hospice. That we had been there 8 days, and no one has arranged for his release.
He came home on a Tuesday. I already got his beloved 64 Comet in the garage. Cleaned the house, did his room. Made it comfy for him in his man cave. Bed brought out, recliner waiting, his dogs tail thumping on the floor....
So they transport him home. The ambulance driver, one tiny the other big and beefy. They couldnt get him up the stairs. I held him in the 'stair chair'. We stopped at the garage. I turned on the garage light. He looked, he smiled. He started crying. I strapped him into the chair. Me, and two ambulance drivers got him in the house. I got him comfy, and he got HIMSELF into his bed. Him and his little dog.
I kept thinking this was just not real. He wasnt really dying, and we were going to learn to admin his meds, and he would be stable for at least a few months. That we could make him noodles, and he would love them....and we could just.....
I stayed there for 3 days. I had friends tend my place.
My dad couldnt accept it. I know this. just by what he was asking me when mom wasnt there. "how come i was better last week" or "how come I cant get up?"
towards the end, he wouldnt eat. At least not for my mom. I would go up with broth. He would let me pour it in his mouth, one teaspoon at a time. He would drink water. He did this for me. I made him smile with a small joke about how he was trying to suck on the straw, and nothing but bubbles would come out...
I have nightmares about giving him his morphine or his liquid anti anxiety drops. I felt like it wasnt enough, or he didnt want me to do it. That he still didnt know he was dying.
I lay next to him, and he opened his eyes. I placed my hand into his. He rubbed my face. He was crying. I could only say I loved him and it was ok. That I would take care of mom. That its ok its just me here, but we will take care of him. He fell asleep. He didnt wake up. I sat with him. Mom sat with him. We just sat.
I went to bed at 1130 pm. My mom came into the bedroom and lay with me. She whispered 'daddy left'...I awoke crying and have been weeping daily ever since.
this is his obituary. My mom and me wrote it.
Granby - Husband, Dad, Vietnam DAV, Artist and Springfield Firefighter whose murals are in various fire stations across the city; an Inventor, and builder of fast, trick Ford cars has left this world quietly and without regret on December 6, 2013. He left his mark on everyone who enjoyed his storytelling, owns his tattoo flash or attended one of his pig roasts. A passion for customizing Triumph motorcycles was a large part of his life as were all the people he met who will surely talk about his sometimes outrageous talents! He enjoyed coffee shop political oratory, a well-told joke, working in the garage, sharing a lead on some affordable car parts, and cutting the veggies for Susie’s endless pots of soup. A member of the famous backyard club “members without a clue” and a frequent visitor to Lazer Automotive and Mark’s Garage to verbally encourage the ongoing hot-rod buildup. He could always be counted on for keen engineering observations which he kindly shared! He will be forever missed by his wife, Susie and his daughter Kelley, who inherited many of his talents, as well as an eclectic collection of friends and acquaintances.
I am 45 years old. I want my daddy. I want to tell him about my day, show him projects Im working on, listen about his. Look at his face again. Hear his voice again. I am in agony. And I know it will heal. But I cant stop crying.