My grandfather (Bumpy - AKA Robert Fenton) is dying. After 91 years here on earth, his stomach and partnering innards have decided to revolt against him. His pain is immeasurable, he is no longer eating, and he sleeps all the time. My poor grandma Millie is currently watching this happen - watching her mate of 70 years fall apart and I feel so dang sad about it my eyes keep twitching out sorry tears. It has been made quite clear to me that going down to Colorado for a last goodbye visit would only cause Bumpy more pain. Supposedly each time someone enters his bedroom where he is now attached to a morphine drip and other medical accoutrements, his eyes close quickly. Dying and having to say goodbye to his gigantic family is wreaking havoc on his already ruined state. I can't do this to him. I can't push my way into the last few minutes of his life so I can say goodbye.
This morning I wrote Bumpy a goodbye letter of sorts. This is something I haven't ever done before. I've written letters to former paramours and bosses expressing my dissatisfaction and imminent exit, but I have never had to write a letter to a man I've loved and looked up to all my life.
I still have all four grandparents. None of them have been violent drunkards or molested my lady parts. None of them have been judgmental of me or discredited my life in any way. They have showered me with affection and have supported all my galavanting and creative whirlwinds. It is rare for a lady of nearly 34 years old to have this type of relationship with her grandparents. It is rare for any person my age to still have all four grandparents in their lives. I suppose this is what makes Bumpa's impending death the biggest shocker. When you have these people in your life - your entire life - you sort of expect them to hang around. I suppose it's naive for me to think such a thing.
Here are my fondest memories of my grandfather (Bumpy):
The way his smile beamed each time he greeted me at his front door
The shiny white patent leather shoes and checked polyester pants he wore each Christmas
His chuckle - spacious and deep
I used to ask him what we were having for dinner and he'd always reply "Mugillicutty soup"
"Oh Millard" he would say to my grandma millie when she did something he disapproved of
His obsession with work, work, work
His regimented daily mass attendance
Grilling all things meaty in a vegetable print apron
Driving around Sun City in his golf cart
Mowing his lawn while whistling
Plucking a grapefruit from one of his trees
Standing over my shoulder in one of a hundred games of rummikub - plotting a way for me to beat my grandma Millie
Him inevitably falling asleep after a big meal while watching Highway to Heaven in his recliner
The world map in his basement and his meticulous application of thumbtacks pushed in wherever he and my grandmother traveled
Three hour long slideshows of the abovementioned travels in their basement
The smell of his Ivory soap cleaned face when kissing his cheek