I had the worst time trying to sleep last night. Even though I was exhausted (reminder: 30 minutes of fast paced Zumba, Group Power, and 45 minutes on the elliptical) I could not fall asleep. I was not able to sleep because my mind was just running a mile a minute. It was not even about my psych final or my statistics midterm that are both due by Sunday. I was thinking about a new friend of mine. Nothing particular. It was just nice to close my eyes and see a familiar face that brings me happiness. Although sadness made its way into my mind.
Sunday, the 19th, was my grandpa and great uncle's birthday. I do not hear from my grandpa ever which is really hard for me to accept because he played a huge part in my life when I was little. I hear from my great uncle quite often by email and such and have seen him the last couple years at the family annual camping trip and when I can make it to the family Christmas party (which I missed this year). The sadness that washed over me came from realizing that my great grandfather passed away 11 years ago on the 19th. He was also a huge part of my life when I was growing up. He used to go on my field trips with me in elementary school. One of my favorite field trips was in 1994. It was common knowledge that the 4th grade class always went to the state capital as one of their field trips. So Grandpa McCaffrey attended our field trip to Olympia! We walked around exploring and then were asked to take a seat on some stairs. Once everyone had sat down, they asked us to slide over. So we literally slid over! My grandpa said that we were saving them money by sliding because we were cleaning the stairs for them and they would not need a janitor to come in! It was great!
My great grandpa was going through his usual routine on December 18, 1999. He went to his usual grocery store and said hi to the girl at the coffee cart outside the front door. Quick note! My great grandpa was born and raised in Renton. He was a huge influence in the community and everyone knew him! Okay so he said hi to the girl and went towards the front door and collapse. People rushed over to him and they called my aunt (my dad's older sister) and then called 911. He was rushed to the hospital and was coherent and chatting with those who came to the hospital. My parents would not allow us to go visit him. All I could do was cry. They did a brain scan and discovered that he had a blood clot in an inoperable spot. He closed his eyes that night and never opened them again.
The 19th was our last day of school before Winter break. I was a wreck. While I was at school, my mom kept me informed of all that was going on. He was still breathing and his heart was still beating but he was no longer there. It became a waiting game. I cried all day long. A friend said hi to me and asked if everything was okay and I burst into tears! I felt so bad for him. He had no idea why I was crying and all he said was hi (I apologized for that when we got back after break). I went home and was home all day and night with my sisters. My mom came home briefly and I asked to go back with her and she told me no. I got very angry and yelled at my mom. I told her that she was being selfish by not allowing anyone else to go and that he was our grandpa and we should get to see him (I apologized for that too and she understood). She told me that she did not want us to remember him laying in a hospital bed and she left again. A few hours later, my cousin called me in tears and said that he had passed away.
From that point on, I could not cry anymore. I was so sad but no more tears fell for a long time. When it came time for the funeral, my cousin got mad at me because I was not crying. I asked my mom if something was wrong with me because I was so sad and felt that I should be crying like everyone else but I just could not. She told me I was fine and that was how I was dealing with his death now. The place where the funeral was held had a little area off to the side for the family and then anyone else who came to pay their respects were out front. Let me put it this way, there were so many people that every seat was taken, all standing room in the building was occupied (including separate viewing rooms for other families), and the facility had to turn on the outside speakers because there was a HUGE group of people outside. I told you that everyone in the city of Renton knew my great grandpa!
He was an amazing man! He was born in 1918. He was a junior officer in the Navy and served on a ship that stormed Normandy. He had the brightest blue eyes and a warm laugh and made everyone feel at ease and like you had known him for years! He left a lot of people behind with many fond memories! My dad set up an annual golf tournament at my grandpa's favorite golf course and participates in it every summer.
Now that I have gotten extremely sentimental, I am going to go and get some rest. Must get rid of this urge to get sick! Until next time!