One day, nearly a year ago, my Poppy collapsed at work. He was rushed to the hospital. And it has been a downhill slide ever since. Poppy's heart valve needed replacing. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He was put on a super strict diet. He was in and out of the hospital multiple times. Then we found out, not long ago, that he was in the moderate stage of Alzheimer's.
This morning I woke up at 4am because a light came on down the hall. I was incredibly disoriented because I was not totally clear on what actually woke me. Then, almost instantly, my Dad appeared in my room. He was fully dressed - like dressed for evening church service. He said, "Poppy has just died. The hospital called. Your Mom and I are going there now. Ok?"
Ok? Am I ok? It took my mind a few minutes to fully process that information. But I instinctively replied, "Ok." What else am I going to say? No, it's not ok that my Poppy is gone. No, I am not ok with that. I can't believe I didn't go to the hospital the day before when I had the chance.
Probably about the time my parents were pulling out of the driveway, the full weight of it hit me. I was sitting on the edge of the bed crying. There was no way I was going to fall back asleep, so I went downstairs and waited for my kids to wake up.
Rea was a different story. I think she is at an age where the loss is felt more. I phrased it the same way. She burst into tears on the spot. And she has been crying off and on for most of the day. I had her climb into my lap right after I broke the news. She cried. I held her. Then she pulled up a chair next to me (we were in my home office). I told her I like to look at pictures when I am sad and missing someone. She said ok, and we scrolled through the large Poppy file.
I knew before I told her that I needed to let her process it in her own way. She needed to be allowed to have her own reaction. As she sat next to me, I asked her what she needed from me... what she thought would help her. She thought about it and responded with "I don't know, I am just really sad."
We have shared lots of hugs today. We watched Back to the Future: Parts I and II. We looked at a lot of pictures on the computer, lots in our family albums. We talked about Poppy. We talked about Lala. And I let her cry.
She told me she was probably going to cry all week, maybe even the month. I told her that it is ok if she does. And then I told her that Poppy was ready to go. He was very sick and very uncomfortable. He missed Lala so much. He told us that he lived a good, long life and he was ready to go. He would want us to be happy because he is happy now.
My oldest child, Reagan, is 12, Riley is 10 and Remy is 1. Everyday is a crazy day in the life of the Stus!