|There is no justice. There is just us.
||[Nov. 7th, 2010|11:13 pm]
|[||Current Dope Beats
|||||Keep Me In Your Heart- Warren Zevon||]|
After several months of worsening health issues, my grandfather has passed away.
We had been expecting this since March, when he was initially admitted for lung failure. Over the past month, it seemed like he was recovering, even being able to go home this last month. The last time I saw him, two weeks ago, he was at home, complaining about not being able to leave the house. Although, he said, it was better to be there instead of the hospital.
This last Wednesday, my dad took him to the hospital for complications. Last night, both of my parents went to go visit him and take my grandma home. Before the left, my grandfather gave a list of several "demands" to my grandma. Not surprisingly, he didn't want to be there for much longer. The nurse later told my dad that after they left, he started to settle down for the night. He passed away at ten-thirty.
I didn't find out until one in the morning. By the time my family found out, I was already asleep. My parents woke me up and told me what happened.
My grandfather came to the States from Italy in 1932, with his sisters and my great-grandmother. He was eight years old. In his eighty-one years, he raised five children, served in the Navy, and he ran several successful businesses. He got to see almost all of his grandchildren grow up, and two of us graduate from college. Not that things were easy. His older sister passed away fairly young, and one of my uncles and a grandson died within a few years of each other.
In 2000, my grandparents, along with my Aunt Carol and my grandfather's sister, took a trip to Italy; specifically, to Rome and to Lettopalena, the town where he grew up. When they arrived in Lettopalena, my grandfather, in very rusty Italian, asked for directions from a local. As they were talking, he realized that the helpful passer-by was a close friend of his as a child. He always intended to go back, but never had the chance.
In December of 2004, my grandfather had a massive heart attack. Complications from the surgery caused a major staph infection in his leg. His doctors gave him two options: they could save the leg, but would require extensive surgery and physical therapy; or, they could amputate it, which would still involve the physical therapy, but a quicker recovery time. And although the doctors were pushing to save the leg, my grandfather put his foot down and told them to cut it off.
Unlike my mom's parents, my dad's side of the family is the one with the most health problems. At least once or twice a year, while I was growing up, either he or my grandma were in the hospital for some problem. My dad always says it's hard to reconcile the big, looming father he grew up with to the man I knew, a frail, little man who would fall asleep automatically after dinner.
I have been very, very lucky to have my grandfather present in my life, especially for this long. While we didn't spend as much time with him and my grandma as we did with my mom's family, he taught me to be proud of my background and not to back down. If he didn't like how his life was being shaped, he went out and did his own thing.