Carl's dad went into the hospital on July 31. We weren't very worried, though, because it was mostly to get some tests done and because his doctors thought he needed his gallbladder removed. Not good, but nothing serious. We even went forward with our plans for his celebration weekend - a big dinner on the actual day, Friday night, renting a boat for our extended family (just, minus Al) for Saturday, and then we were going to go to the Monster Truck show on Sunday. We visited Al on Friday and Saturday evenings, and on Saturday night, the boys had a great time going for rides on Poppa's hospital bed up really really high. Ryan even told Al that it was the best day ever, "except you weren't there, Poppa. So we'll just have to go again once you are home!"
And then we got the horrible phone call in the early hours of August 4 that no one ever wants to get.
Carl raced to the hospital, but it was too late. His father had developed a blood clot, and like that, he was gone. Al was only sixty-six, and while he wasn't in the best of health the past few years, we still thought we had years left to spend with him. I can't even begin to write down the ways he impacted our lives, and the myriad ways we will miss him. His passing has left a huge hole in our hearts that can never be repaired, and the past few weeks have been tough.
When I lost my father eleven years ago, I didn't have children, and my parents were divorced. I grieved for myself and my brother, but I had the luxury of being able to wallow in my own pity to my heart's content. I think Carl has such a harder time right now than I ever did. Its hard to grieve for yourself when you are trying to be strong for your mother who has lost her partner in life, and for your children who have lost their best friend. The boys are having a difficult time, and its unbearably painful to watch them sobbing over their only grandfather's death. Just when I think we are past the worst of the grieving, Ryan will wake up with nightmares all over again.
Now that school has started back up, I'm hopeful that a return to routine will help stabilize things for us. Life will never be the same, but hopefully we can find peace in the future.