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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Good Bye Poppa

Today my Father passed away. That seems like such a straight forward simple sentence. Short and to the point. But it is really anything but....

After 14 years of heart problems and 4 years of hospice care, my Poppa is finally at peace. It has been the most frustrating, maddening, touching, sad and enlightening journey of my life. I truly thought that when it finally happened that I would be relived. I thought I was ready for him to go. He has been sick and unhappy for so long I really did think I would be okay and that would be that.

What a fool I am. All the frustration and anger and annoyance I had at him for being so stubborn and pig headed and uncooperative and demanding seems to have just disappeared and I can't believe I was so annoyed and impatient with him.

For the last few years he would go through phases when he demanded that I tell him when he was going to die.....the more Independence he lost the more he wanted to know. Not really knowing what to say I would always tell him that when he was ready, he would just go to sleep and wake up and be in heaven. And that is exactly what he did.

The last few days were tough, he couldn't get out of his recliner anymore with out assistance. But he didn't want anyone hanging out to be able to help him when he needed. He was positive he could do everything himself.

I think Saturday was the day he realized that it was time. He seemed to just let go. He slept for most of Saturday and all day Sunday. I was there a few times on Sunday and decided to check on him before I went to bed. After being there for just a few minutes he seems to be more awake and aware than he had been in the last two days. He actually sat up and wanted his back rubbed and for me to hold his hand. He kept saying that he loved me and thank you. In hindsight he was telling me goodbye. I just didn't realize it. He liked it when I sat next to him and held his hand......I wish I would have realized that he was telling me goodbye.

I know he is at peace now. And has no more pain and can walk and run and chase the ladies.... I know he is hanging out with Gus and Spider and Red and all the dogs he had over the years and I a sure that Grandpa Joe was there to greet him along with my Mom and many other family members....My mind knows this, but my heart misses him much more than I expected.

One of the saddest things is such a silly thing, but now there is no one to call me "Sissy". When my brother was little he couldn't say "Teresa" and he called me Sissy. Well Poppa never stopped calling me Sissy. I will miss that.

Since this post is really more for me, I wanted to post some of my favorite photos of Poppa.That's me in the stroller and Poppa and my Gramma at Knots Berry Farm. Notice the cool shades Poppa is wearing, it seems to be a theme with him.

Even though Poppa was 20 years older than my Mom, he never looked it. Here we are in our living room in Whittier and he had to be in his mid 40's and doesn't look to be much more than 30.

Here we are again and I am only about 2 in this photo, so he was 46! Lucky me! I got to inherit those youthful genes!

This is my favorite photo from our wedding. He looks like a member of the Rat Pack and he was 78! I think this pic shows him exactly how he was....confident, self assured, a take no crap from anyone kinda guy.

Same day, but a more serious photo. He was so happy to see me marry Michael. He really loved him and though he was a genius! He used to tell me how lucky I was to find Michael and that I should be grateful and be very good to him! and he was right!

This was a long and arduous journey that we have been on, Sometimes I hated it, sometimes I loved it and sometimes I wondered if I was being punished for something. But I realized today that instead of remembering all the bad stuff, that I should be grateful that we went on this journey.

I learned that the past matters, but if you let go of the bad stuff from the past, your life is much more peaceful. I learned that just because people don't treat you the way you want them to doesn't mean that they don't love you. They just do the best that they can.

I know that you loved me, but today people told me some of the nice things you said about me, things I wish you would have said to me, but maybe you couldn't. I also found the poem that you left in your wallet for me...... that meant more than you know.

But most of all I learned that you need to be good to those that you love and to mend those fences that are broken, even if you think it is no longer possible. Because all the petty shit that happened years and years ago doesn't matter, all that matters is the love.....and the now.... Thank you for teaching me that.

Well.....not much left to say but I love you very much Poppa and make sure you give my Mom a hug for me and try to stay out of trouble!

I miss you already,