I finally aroused myself from a post-graduation stupor to obtain more packing supplies and start packing the house in earnest. We are going to be at mom and dad's for a few days and I wanted to get a jump on things, since closing is only TWO WEEKS AWAY! Holy cow, where did the time go? One minute I looked at a calendar stretching out before me, with closing in the great distance, and now....it's close. Too close.
Then I called my mom and found out that a close family friend had died. He has known my mom since she was a little girl, and in the last few years has been very close to my widowed grandmother. He was at my college graduation and at countless family holiday celebrations. He would always bring wonderful deviled eggs to parties, and my parents had a bottle of Bombay Sapphire in the freezer just for him. He and Grandma made a good pair, and they were so good for each other.
He had a stroke a few weeks ago, and horrifically laid on the floor of his kitchen for at least 24 hours until he was found. I saw him at the hospital, his right side completely paralyzed, but he smiled and kissed my cheek and seemed to recognize me. He'd recovered enough to make it to a nursing home, but after Grandma's visit last night (when she showed him photos from this last graduation . . . ) he started to have more trouble breathing, and this morning he died.
I'm sad for his family, for his kids, for my grandmother, and for his community. We have all lost a wonderful man, who has a terrific sense of humor and a smile or a kiss for everyone. The past few years I've felt like he was more my grandfather than any other I've ever had. But I am relieved that he is at peace, and will no longer suffer the indignities of a body that won't do what he wants, a body that leaves him victim to the tender mercies of others. He was too vital, such a full inhabitant of his life, to drag out through months or even years of slow rehab and loneliness, all too aware of what he has lost.
Goodbye, Fred. We will miss you and think of you always.