I’m lucky to say, I haven’t really experienced too much death in my lifetime. I wasn’t sure how to react when my grandmother died. I was in shock when my father called to tell me to meet him at the hospital. I was sad for my grandmother and I knew I would miss her. I don’t remember crying much, I tend to keep a cold exterior while battling emotions on the inside– at least with most situations. More than anything, I was sad for my family and sad for my grandfather. I was sad for the pain of everyone she was leaving behind.

When my grandmother died I was there for my grandfather. I cried for him. I watched him break down. I saw the pain he felt and I couldn’t imagine the full extent of pain he would feel inside to lose the woman he had spent his entire life with. I made sure to be there everyday with him. I stayed in his home after her death. I didn’t want him to feel alone. When it was time to put away my grandmothers belongings my grandfather told me he wanted me “to be the first one to go through her closet.” He saw and felt how much I loved him and her.  He knew I “cared the most.” I always told him he was my favorite. And I always meant it: my grandfather is my favorite.

As time went by I moved away and moved back, but saw him less and less. Not because my love faded. but because it was difficult to watch him grow so old, so quickly, in just a few years. The grandfather I remembered, the one whose rocking chair I would sit on, the one whose croissants or sweaters I would steal, the man who I would grab his little strands of hair and ask to ponytail, the family member who I “cared the most” for was slowly falling apart each day and I couldn’t bring myself to be there.

I received the phone call tonight. “You might want to come meet us here and say goodbye.” A wave of numbness came over me and I sat in shock for a second. I turned to Eric and asked “Could you watch Marlowe tonight? I have to meet my family.” Not long after I was in the room, with my family, and with my grandfather—laying on a hospital bed and struggling for a full deep breath of air. Once again, left uncertain as to what I should feel– just sad and numb and concerned for my family around him.

I stood there wearing my grandmother’s ring and purse. Two things I wear daily, because: I was there, because: I “cared the most.” I wore nothing of my grandfather, because I have not been there. I have not been there for the person I care most for. So frail. So worn. Nothing like the joyous man he used to be, but instead a man I have strayed from because of my own incapacity. His life has come, has been lived, and is quickly leaving. In these few moments he has left– have it be minutes, hours, or days I hope he finds comfort. I hope there is no pain. As his arms flail up and his closed eyes move back and forth: I hope for the best. I hope he feels no regrets and is not battling demons behind those closed eyes— I hope instead he feels euphoric. I hope he is reliving all the merry moments of his long lived life— memories of childhood and memories spent with his wife &family. I hope he knows that as a man, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather: he truly was loved. I hope that even in the time I pulled away, he knows how much I love him.

grandpa and grandma1
grandpa marc (pappy) &grandma gertrude.
I hugged my dad as I left. He said: “It’ll be okay, it’s part of life.” I know this. I see this everyday. On the rainy drive home I thought about the people I love and I thought about life. Always keep the ones you love close, because life is short and it moves quickly. 
In the short time I was away tonight Marlowe took her first step. Life cycles.


  1. I am so sorry Drea. It is life, but it doesn't make it any easier. I am full on crying right now. I know how it is to pull away because you see them changing. It's hard and painful. You want to remember the youthful personalities.

    I have been very fortunate as well and all of my grandparents are still alive. Three of them are close to leaving us. I dread the day I get the call.I hope you and your family find peace in all of this.


  2. So sorry for you. I have experienced a lot of death in my life it is always hard. Let yourself greave. You wrote
    "I stood there wearing my grandmother's ring and purse. Two things I wear daily, because: I was there, because: I "cared the most." I wore nothing of my grandfather, because I have not been there. I have not been there for the person I care most for."
    I dont think your grandfather would have wanted you to feel bad about not being there when he was ill. I think you where there for him, if not when he died when he went through great pain of loosing your grandmother. you where there for him in life, i think that is what he would care about.

  3. Hey babe, I went through the same hting with dad last year – I really, really understand what you're going through, if you wanted to talk email me, loma [at] dripdrydesign dot com. I hope you're ok, big hugs to you, and congrats Marlowe! Life cycles indeed. xxxxx

  4. It nearly killed me to lose my Grandaddy. I miss him so much everyday. I know it hurts like hell to lose a grandparent. (((hugs)))

    That pic is too cool.

  5. Very well written. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May you all find peace.

  6. Drea, I've been reading your blog for a little while now and I've meant to say sooner how much I've enjoyed reading your writing. You seem so wonderful – like someone I could really spend some time with and have a blast with! That said, I am so sorry for your loss, and your family is in my thoughts. Watching grandparents age and ultimately pass is so difficult. Their passing always seems so imminent and yet impossible…until it happens. You're in my thoughts.

  7. I should be getting ready for school, but I saw what you had posted and I felt compelled to read it. For some reason, I had this feeling that I HAD to read it and now I know why.

    My grandfather, whom I was very close to died of lung cancer five years ago. He was sick with a "cold" as the doctors told him but one day, one day things got really bad and as they wheeled him back into his room- they spared us the wait and told us he was suffering and horribly. stage four lung cancer. how in the hell do you miss that? how do these experts, these professionals, these doctors who claim glory of knowledge, miss stage four lung cancer? he was in disbelief and from there deteriorated before our eyes. He was angry, forgot who he was, forgot who we were, he turned into a man we didn't know any longer- consumed by the cancer- all in one day. It made my stomach turn, to watch my grandfather, such a gentle soul, such a sweet man, who never raised his voice, and always knew how to make me smile- suffer when he didn't deserve a minute of it.

    I was home, days later. Pregnant with ryland, Adriana 16 months, I got the call. I felt numb. I wasn't there with him. I couldn't bring myself to sit in the hospital and watch him lay there, unconscious, unable to think, unable to look at us, unable to talk and laugh and be the man he used to be. I was selfish and told myself I couldn't see him like that any longer, I didn't want it to be the way I remembered him, the last image in my head. so I didn't. but I cried. I cried and couldn't stop. I could hear my family desperately crying through the phone when my mom called to tell me he was gone. that's all she said, "he's gone" and in that moment, I knew that he had been freed from the pain, freed from the torture of cancer, freed from not being able to be the man he had been all his life. and that was enough for me. I swear sometimes I smell his scent and feel him with me. It's the oddest thing, but I do and I know everything is okay.

    I am unbelievable sorry for the loss of your grandfather. I know what you're going through- it is a life cycle and things do get better and sometimes they can be worse but we pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, put a smile on and go about life knowing to live every day to the fullest and to love the one's around you as if tomorrow will never be here. you're such a strong lady and I bet your grandfather is so proud of you and happy that he can watch every minute of Marlowe growing up.

    I'm an email away.

  8. Drea,

    (tears) I'm so sorry about your grandfather. Loss is so hard.
    Feel blessed to have had him all these years and i'm sure he knows you love him. I hope it's painless.
    My thoughts are with you and your family.

  9. Thinking of your family and sending positive thoughts your way.
    XOXO, Abby

  10. I actually have tears in my eyes…your grandfather would have known how much you loved & cared for him even though you may not have been around, life pulls us away from those we love the most sometimes, it doesn't mean we don't love them any less. I didn't see much of my grandfather in his last years but I did make the effort to drive 6hrs at 4am in the morning to make sure I saw him at hospital when he got really sick. A week later he died, I swear he just held on long enough to see everyone of us one last time. At least he had that one last memory of me before he died. That photo is so beautiful too.

  11. So sorry Drea. It sucks. Badly. I lost both of my grandmothers exactly 7 days apart in march. I was so close to both of them, even though one lived in Sweden and the other in North Carolina/Florida. And now I've been a shity ass grand daughter because I don't call my grandfather as much as I should. It hurts to much to talk to him, and hear the pain in his voice after he lost the person he had been with since he was 17 years old. It all sucks.

    But wow and yay for Marlowe! Your life is about to change 🙂