My grandparents were old. Or, they felt old to me. My dad's parents were Holocaust survivors. They were of such a different generation. I look at my parents and in-laws and they seem so young, active, capable. Not the image of a grandparent I grew up with.
Yesterday, early afternoon, my husband called me sobbing. His dad died. Massive heart attack. Gone in an instant. He was in northern Wisconsin at his cabin, celebrating his 22nd anniversary with J's step-mom. They were snowmobiling. He turned, grimaced, and that was it. It was immediate. His step-mom and neighbor did CPR but it was too late. I don't think he could have known what was happening, or felt much pain. The suddenness and the fact that he was in a place he loved, doing what he loved, with a person he loved, are the blessings in this horrible situation.
J is lost, he's distraught. He wanted to see his dad hold his grandson. God knows we tried to make this happen sooner but now, 1-3 weeks before our boy is born, his grandfather is dead. What was such an exciting, anxiety ridden time is now so heart breaking. My husband hurts so badly and I can't make that go away. All I can do is hold him while cries, reassure him that no major decisions have to be made now. It sounds selfish, perhaps, but I hate the shadow of grief that is now hanging over the birth of our son. Of course we will be overjoyed, but J will be torn apart by love and longing for what absolutely should have been.
J's dad and I did not always see eye to eye. I don't think that changes anything. I loved him because J loved him so fiercely. He was his parent, his teacher, and his boss for many years. Their relationship was more complex than most father-son relationships. I wish J would have his dad around to look to while he navigated parenting. J deserves that. He doesn't deserve this horribly-timed heartache.
It's been less than 24 hours but it feels like it's been days. I am finding myself, at 9 months pregnant, more capable than I thought I was. While J has sweetly waited on me like an invalid in the past month or so, I have found the energy to take care of him. I am not worried about the activity, the hours, the throngs of family and friends descending. I welcome that for J. I dread the continued sadness. I didn't think we were there yet, the time where you start losing parents. We are becoming parents. Too much cycle of life.