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Thursday, September 01, 2011

A little on the serious side...

Hey guys! I know its been a while since I posted anything and this post is a little out of the norm, but I had this strange urge to share.

Since the sudden, unexpected and family shattering death of my 19 year old cousin, Jessica (pictured left) I've been considering my own mortality. It scares the crap outa me thinking about what will happen to me when I die, but there is one thing that makes me feel slightly better about it and I wanted to share it with you. Maybe it will make you feel better too, who knows.

This is a story about my Grandad and how he died and as morbid as it sounds, its actually a happy story. Bear with me!

Before I start, I'll tell you Grandad lived a full life. He and my Grandma had been married for more years than I can imagine, they moved the whole family from England to Australia in about 1980. Grandad even told me about driving lorries in WWII, across the Egyptian sands and how he could see the pyramids as he drove past but was not allowed to stop. He was jailed while in the army for having his lorry stolen! His gun was under the seat but his superiors never found out otherwise he would have been jailed for longer.

I'm getting off track however.

Grandad had been sick for a long time, he was old, it was to be expected. His body just started failing on him but his mind still worked perfectly well, he knew what was going on. So for years Grandad was bedridden, Grandma by his side caring for him the whole time. Before the end he was barely able to move from his bed to the couch 2 metres way.

I got the first call on my anniversary. My mum made me cry while I was out to dinner with my fiance and best friends. She said he'd had a stroke and the doctors didn't think he'd survive the night. Well he did and they sent him home the next day. He refused to take any more tests, he was sick of being poked and prodded and just wanted to go home. We all knew there was nothing they could do to make him better and so did he.

Despite that first call, Grandad hung on for months after that first stroke. He had another a couple of months after that with the same results. When I got the second call, I was a bit less shocked, it'd all hit me in the first call and it was more like a waiting game after that.

The day he died, I drove over to my mums to comfort her, it was then she told me the story I'm about to tell you.

Grandad wasn't afraid, she'd asked him and he had smiled. The night he died, Grandma was watching her favorite show, Wheel of Fortune (eye roll), when he called her into his room. Grandma went to him and asked him what he wanted, did he need water? Did he want to sit up? No, he said, just lay with me. It was then that Grandma noticed his breathing was all out of whack and his eyes were a bit unfocused. She knew then that it was almost time, so she lay down on the bed with him.

"Give us a kiss, love," he said. So Grandma gave him a kiss and snuggled up next to him. He died then. He had known it was time and had called her in to say goodbye.

That one moment, of knowing and being able to say goodbye to his wife, of not being afraid.... that makes me happy, hopeful and courageous.

RIP Grandad, Happy Father's Day, we love you.

Grandad, my cousins and me.

And Jessica, sweet cousin, you were too young to leave us. We miss you everyday but don't worry, we'll look after each other. Love you. RIP

I leave you with this song by The Herd that makes me think of everyone dear to me.

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