There was a time when I wrote on a weekly basis. This was largely a cathartic experience. Since that time, I have been so busy with work and trying to get my life in better order that the stories dont come out or I am so tired the writing and release seem to fade.
I was asked today to share one of my favorite stories (outside of google+) and I chose this one.
Its not a story so much as it is an accounting and some advice. Take a look, share it if you like it. For those of you who have read it before, I hope you dont mind me sharing it again. I share so little these days that you probably dont remember this one
Written on May 6, 2012.
Shared on May 9, 2012Preface:
It has been my experience that when you hear the words "For your sake" its never a good thing. People shouldn't have the right to think for us. Good intentions or not, there are some decisions in life that can't be changed and the impact they have on us lasts forever.
This is one of those stories.For My Sake
I was 28; it was late August when my mother called. I was in the middle of a divorce, my son was barely 1 year old and my life was essentially an emotional hell. Everything that could go wrong was and now there was this...
When mom called, I was in the middle of trying to console my son and get him calmed down. The message was simple. My grandfather, now 82 had been diagnosed with Cancer (3 months ago) and wasn't doing well.
Yes, three months prior. You can imagine that this news flew like a lead balloon with me.
I lived in Dallas, they were in West Texas. That’s three months I could have had. But "For My Sake" they didn't want to subject me to the pain of knowing the man I loved and idolized was essentially dying. When my parents considered all the other things I was going through they didn't want to worry me with anything else.
The time that was left was never a consideration.
My need for the time was never considered.
My feelings were apparently considered yet I had a real issue with the conclusion made on my behalf.
I was overwhelmed with sorrow and concern followed by a pinch of anger.
The trip was planned and I packed up my rag tag family... hanging on by a thread, we made the drive as if it was a death march to see my grandfather.
No amount of adjectives could have prepared me for what I experienced when I got there. Three months of a progressing condition and now, like a pitcher in a losing effort with the bases loaded and no strikes, I get called in. I was walking into an emotional disaster.
But.... it was "For My Sake"
We arrived at my parents’ house and made our way in. My grandmother (whom I love dearly as well) is sitting in the recliner in the front of the house. Having suffered from several strokes she wasn't altogether anymore.
She didn't recognize me. Yeah it hurt, but I understood. The thought that immediately hit me is that there is nothing about the "Golden" years. How in the name of God can it be fair that you live your entire life only to forget the things that mean the most to you , the things that you live your life for.
I hadn't been in the house three minutes and I was crushed.
I headed back to my grandfather’s room. He had a nurse that was administering his medication. This way he could be home and be more comfortable.
He looked miserable...
My grandfather... larger than life, at 6'-1" and 260, he was a broad and strong man. Barrel chested, thick and sturdy, his appearance was the essence of confidence. The only thing that was more impressive than his presence was his mind. He graduated Salutatorian from OU with a degree in Business Finance.
Now, a ripe shade of yellow, the cancer had progressed to his liver and jaundice had set in. His eyes were bright red, as if there was a demon inside trying to fight off what was killing him. His breathing was strained and he was moving real slow. My strong, intelligent, commanding presence grandfather had shrunk. His girth was gone having been eaten by the cancer and his determination was fading.
He didn’t acknowledge my presence while I stood there… staring. As a large tear slowly formed, and the muscles in my chest got tight, his nurse waved me off so she could finish his treatment. I nodded and turned to leave. As she was squeezing the bacg to push that last drops of his medication through the IV he groaned.
The tear fell… and I walked away…
"For My Sake"
When my grandfather emerged, he moved slow, grimaced in pain and sat on the couch. It was at this time when he met my son for the first and last time. He held him on his lap, and I took the one and only picture of my grandfather with my son. Two of the most important people in my life, finally together, one too young and oblivious to know the significance of the moment and the other hanging on to a memory that would last 35 days.
The outfit my son wore that day is on a teddy bear in my office. It reminds me that it happened. All I ever wanted was my grandfather to see me raise my son and teach him as he taught me. I wanted him to be a part of his life; I needed him to guide me. Everything was such a mess and shy of my son I was miserable. But this visit, it wasn’t about advice, it wasn’t about help, it was about goodbye.
Three months of time I could have had and now, I am facing the reality that this won’t get better and time was running out.
"For My Sake"
The moment with my son in his lap lasted about thirty seconds. My son started to fuss and in my grandfathers weakened state, it made sense to collect him and let mom try and calm him down. My grandfather smiled when I took the picture.
And that was it.
The weekend passed, he slept a bunch which made sense. I found myself going by his room to just stare. The memories all rushing by so fast. The times we had, the love I had for him, the respect and the pain. While I recognized that time will take us all and this time was his. I was so scared and hurt…
On Sunday, it was time to go back to Dallas. It was to be a long and somber drive. I told my grandmother I loved her and goodbye. Said goodbye to my folks and then loaded the kids up. Once they were comfortable, I went back in the house and headed back to his room. He was there, staring off into space. I hadn’t made a sound, and without even looking at me he said.
“Davey, fly low and slow. I love you.”
He reached for me and I gave him a hug. I had so many things to ask, so many things I wanted to know, so many more lessons I wanted to hear or learn again. So much…. well, more.
He looked off in the distance, and faded back to where he was before.
Those were the last words he ever said to me.
As I left I made my parents promise if anything happened to call me and I would be here immediately. They promised and with that we headed back to Dallas. The problem was that they never called. I was never told when he was in the hospital, in pain, in need or needed to be surrounded by the people he loved and that loved him back.
I was told later that they didn’t tell me "For My Sake"…
Because he was in pain, and when he was dying it was bad. They decided for me that I didn’t need to see it or experience it….
I did get my final goodbye….
You see, my grandparents NEVER missed my birthday. And my 29 th birthday was no exception. We were together, however on Sept 23, the day before my 29th I was at the cemetery, standing in a church before family and friends offering a eulogy to the man that inspired me, challenged me and taught me. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. To this very day, I can think of my grandfather and just cry. Oh God it hurts so bad and makes me so happy at the same time. It was blessing to have such a wonderful person in my life. I just wish he could have seen more.
"For My Sake"Epilogue:
If I could do it all over again, I would have been there. The passing of my grandfather was more important to me than a failing marriage and the eventual duties of being a single parent. The things I wanted to say I wasn’t able to say. The feelings I wanted to express weren’t ever shared. As a result, 17 years later I have a heart filled with regret, pain and many tears have been shed.
Saying goodbye to anyone or anything is a choice we all have. If you ever find yourself in the position of deciding for someone else….
Let them do it on their own.
Closure in life is personal, important and something that others can never properly consider. Some people want it, despite the image or the circumstance, others, don’t. Both choices are fine if they are made by the person and not on their behalf.
Every time my life is a mess, which seems to be a regular occurrence these days I think of him. I wonder what he would tell me, what sage advice he would give me.
Since there is no more advice to be given, I will just try as hard as I can to fly a little lower, and a little slower, just as he wanted me to.
"For My Sake"
</david>My Long Posts Posts:
Each week I write a long post or story. I really appreciate everyone reading them, sharing them and for all of the comments. I recently started a NOTIFY circle. Meaning, if you like these stories and want to be notified by email when they are shared, please send me a personal note or leave a comment and I will gladly add you to the circle. My Long Post Archive
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