It was a normal Sunday morning and my kids were all happy and excited. Too busy with life and work, they told me it was Father’s Day since I clearly forgot about it. They expected us to go out and eat somewhere fancy. I was still in bed and I knew there’s barely $50 in my wallet. How can I feed a family of seven on a sweet restaurant with only $50? I chuckled and remembered that I had to call my Grandpa and tell him Happy Father’s Day.
You see, I grew up in his home and it’s safe to say that he and my Grandma raised me and my siblings. My parents were divorced since I was ten and it was a tough life. We didn’t have much and my mom can only buy us nice things once a year. That’s like one pair of jeans and one shirt ONCE A YEAR. But I didn’t complain because I knew it was very hard for her too. Actually, at a very young age, I learned how to “find” money so that I would have extra cash. I was selling old stuff and food.
Don’t get me wrong – my mother was with us in the house as well. But sending four kids to a private school (that’s expensive!) and scraping money for our “needs” meant that she is always out working. Good thing my Grandpa and Grandma were always there for us as support and to provide for whatever is lacking.
You’ll never know when death will visit and take your loved one just like that…
I love them both very much but my Grandpa was a stubborn old man. He would drink rhum every day for years and eventually, it caught up with him. He has had multiple surgeries because of his liver condition and other complications also surfaced. I visited him a week before Father’s Day and he looked so fine. He even told me that he is so happy that his grandchildren are successful and doing good in life. I never thought of myself as a “success” because I think I failed him, my Grandma and my mom for getting pregnant and marrying early. Our dream of becoming a family of CPA’s was shattered. He and my mom were licensed and I’m not. Still, the visit was very pleasant and I didn’t expect for one little bit that his life would end so soon.
“Experiencing a significant loss such as losing a loved one, a pet, a relationship, or a job can bring on feelings of grief that can be extremely overwhelming. Typical feelings associated with grief include sadness, anger, guilt, numbness, and confusion.” –Tali Yuz Berliner, Psy.D.
And so, I was in bed and too lazy to get up on Father’s Day. It’s Sunday anyway and it was my rest day as well. This was the only day in a week wherein I can lounge around and do nothing. I dialed his number and my Grandma answered. They were watching their favorite TV variety show and he said that he already ate lunch which was basically ice cream. I told him that I won’t be able to go to him and that I just called to tell him Happy Father’s Day. He assured me that it’s all fine and that he knows I’m resting. It’s just that he complained about his bowel movement. He told me that it’s been days since his last bowel release. I spoke to my Grandma and she told me that the hospital cleared him and so, we were complacent.
I was too late…
I was about to sleep around 11PM when my cousin called me. He was crying and I couldn’t make out what he was trying to say. Words said were – Grandpa… Hospital… Not breathing… Come quick… I was so scared and I told my husband to hurry up. My Grandpa was in the hospital again. When we arrived, I saw my cousins outside the emergency entrance and they were all crying uncontrollably.
It was like a rock hit me so hard and I knew it, right then and there. When I got out of the car, I screamed to my cousin and asked him if Grandpa was OK. He just cried and shook his head.
“As we process the reality of our loss, we are also trying to survive emotional pain.” –Jodi Clarke, MA, LPC/MHSP
I went down on my knees and the only word I could utter was “No!!!!”. My aunt came out crying and she tried to lift me up. She said that Grandpa is coming and going, but it doesn’t look good at all. Inside the emergency room, the doctors were trying to revive him, but I was too late. He was gone. And I wasn’t able to say goodbye. I wasn’t able to say, “I love you” and he doesn’t know how grateful I am for loving me and raising me. My Grandpa died on Father’s Day and I wasn’t ready.
My only regret…
I should have visited him every week. I should have taken him out with my Grandma more often. I should have answered his phone calls on time and texted him back right away when he was sending me weird notes and sentimental quotes. I should have done a lot of things that I didn’t and now, he’s gone. My Grandpa… My Hero… Now, only in my memories and dreams.
“Losing someone or something you love and care deeply about is very painful. You may experience all kinds of difficult emotions and it may feel like the pain and sadness you’re experiencing will never let up.” –Kevin Stevenson, LMHC, MCAP
It’s been four years and still, everything is so fresh. The first year after his death was terrible for me and if not for online therapy, I would have not recovered from my depression and all those guilt feelings.
Learn from my mistake. Don’t take your loved one for granted. Cherish every moment that you spend with them and always say “I love you”. Never let a day go by without expressing how much they mean to you because when they’re gone, you’ll regret not saying and doing those things. Trust me. I know.