Tags: grandfather


Eulogy for Gramps

I meant to post the eulogy I said at Gramps’ funeral last year, but didn’t get around to it. Posting now as a method of archiving it so I can toss the paper copy. I kept it short because I knew I was going to be unable to hold in the waterworks. As it was, this still took me nearly 5 minutes to say.

My hero died on Wednesday. Since I was little, Gramps has been the man I want to be. Many people are known because the do something very well. In Gramps’ case, he was a firefighter. I once watched him run to a burning cabin from the Ponderosa community club. That was great, knowing he saw that danger and knew what to do. But I didn’t want to be a firefighter; I wanted to be like Gramps.

I want to be loving and open. Gramps and Gram were married over 60 years, and their marriage was still as strong last week as it was 30 years ago when I was a kid. I want to be able to call my wife lover-girl, in front of anyone. He didn’t hide anything. Like him, I want the self-confidence to tell people what’s important about me. He was generous and without judgment. He patiently taught me how to drive a standard shift, while I killed the engine of his car over and over. Never once did he tear me down. When a student I was mentoring started applying for scholarships, Gramps gladly spent an afternoon going over scholarship applications with her so she would be ready. He gave his time because I asked and because she needed it. Nothing more. I could list his good qualities for some time.

Now he’s gone. I miss him already. We all do. That’s why we are here. But what I’ll miss most is the living example of who a man can be. I’m proud to say I’m his grandson. I hope that people who knew him will tell others, That’s Cleo Hathaway’s grandson, not because of blood-line, but because I’ve learned well from him. Because I still want to be like my hero.

crossposted from King Rat.


Christmas 2010 at Swedish Medical Center

At 12:07 this morning I got a call from my grandfather. When he calls, I answer. He’d passed out in the hallway and had called paramedics. He assumed they would take him to Swedish like they normally do. There’s a “normal” course of events when Gramps has a heart attack. This is his 5th or 6th in 13 months and he has another 3 or 4 hospitalizations in addition during the same time frame.

So I did my normal course. Get dressed. Make coffee. Call Joe. Dawdle on the internet for 15 minutes. Then leave for the hospital. I got there 15 minutes before they did.

I am always fine when I get the call. Driving up Lynn is fine. I start to get worried this will be the last time I see him about the time I get on the freeway. By the James St exit I am a wreck and near bawling. But I pull it together while climbing James St. And I’m all business by the time I get to Swedish.

That is my “normal” progression.

My main concern is Gram. She has dementia and stress makes her worse. So this morning I walked to meet her at the ambulance and took charge of her while the paramedics wheeled Gramps into emergency. They thought I worked there and were surprised I couldn’t tell them the access code for the emergency doors.

Gramps was admitted overnight, though now it has stretched into 2. Gram cannot stay by herself though she thinks she is fine. So I am crashing on her couch for the second, hopefully less sleepless, night.

The docs who downloaded his pacemaker data confirmed a heart attack. Without the builtin defibrillator, he would have died. It’s the 3rd or 4th time it’s saved his life.

Cross-posted from King Rat

Nuclear test

The last few days have been hectic to say the least. Most of it bad, but not all. Here I shall write about the bad stuff.

Thursday I got a call from Gram. Sort of. She called, but didn’t realize I’d picked up. I could hear her talking to a nurse in the background saying her phone wasn’t working and asking the nurse to call me. Nurse asking for my number. Gram not knowing. I hung up and called Gram thinking the nurse would hear the ring and show her how to answer, but I got voice mail. While I called, the nurse called me and I still haven’t figured out how to switch calls on call waiting, so that went to voice mail. But at least now I knew what hospital.

Gramps was feeling pressure in his chest and short of breath. So he called 911 and went to the ER. They don’t know what’s wrong exactly, though whatever it is isn’t as bad as the heart attacks and blod clot he had in December/January. He’s definitely weaker than he was a couple of weeks ago. And he definitely had more fluid than he should around his heart. They upped his dosage of ferosimide (I probably misspelled that) to get him to piss away the fluid. He’s lost about 7.5 pounds in 4 days, with no bowel movements (which is beginning to be an issue).

Tomorrow morning they’ll put some nuclear material in him and watch it go through his heart on a machine. I don’t know if they’ll send him home afterward, or if they’ll be keeping him.

Meanwhile, I’ve been driving Gram there to visit every day, and spending a fair amount of time with her outside the hospital. Her dementia has been pretty bad, and Gramps didn’t want her to be alone for too long. He’s said they need to hire help, and I think he means it this time. He’s withered in the face of Gram’s opposition before. We even had a conversation with Gram, and she seemed more resigned in her opposition than obstinate. It’s a good, albeit minor, sign as far as I am concerned.

My aunt Gail arrived today to help out watching Gram. One of the things she wants to do is go look at assisted living places with me. We’re hoping that Gramps’ doctors insist on something like that. Both Gram and Gramps need it.

Me, I’m a ball of stress. I’ve gotten very little sleep. But I’ve also taken some time for myself as well. Unfortunately, that cut into my sleep, but it was worth it.

I haven’t forgotten the Walk to Defeat A.L.S. I have half an article on drugs written up, and hopefully I’ll get time to finish it within the next few days. In the meantime, my Walk to Defeat A.L.S. page is still up, and still taking donations.

Originally published at King Rat. You can comment here or there.