It hasn't quite set in yet. I've already cried, but it still isn't real. I can't believe my grandfather, Charles Crum, has passed on. He was the kindest, sweetest man and a Southern Baptist preacher until he retired within the last few years. He also compiled a family history, which now means so much to me. I'm glad he was able to finish it. After having some chest pains a couple weeks ago, he was admitted to the hospital where complications mounted.
First, the doctors put two stints into his arteries to allow blood flow. This was supposed to fix him, but the next day he suffered a stroke from a dislodged blood clot. His left side became useless and we all prepared ourselves for the worst. I wanted to go to the hospital then, but it just became a game of wait-and-see. The next day, he was much better and had been able to slightly grasp the doctor's hand and move his foot. It wasn't long before he was feeding himself and cracking jokes. They believed it may have been the medication that had made his left side paralytic since he only had one kidney; the other had been removed a couple years ago because it had become cancerous. Since he seemed to be making a recovery, the moved him to the Rehabilitation Ward. But then his kidney was at 3x the level it should be, and his gallbladder began to give him issues. His white blood cell count was also extremely high. Since he's been on a blood thinner for his heart, and because he's already so weak, they couldn't do surgery to remove it.
Today, on my brother's 21st birthday, they took him in to drain his gallbladder, but later in the day my mom told me that they had only done this to relieve some pain. He was no longer conscious since they were giving him so much morphine and they didn't expect him to come-to. I had already bought my plane ticket to fly out there tomorrow when my mom called to say he had passed on.
I'm completely frustrated that we never knew enough to make plans to see him. They had been planning on having him in rehab for 4 weeks, so my family was saying to wait until he was feeling better to visit. When they told us he may be in a wheelchair from now on, my step dad wanted to rush there to modify their house... but my grandmother told him to wait. What else could we do? If he modified the house, my grandmother couldn't sell it. If we came too soon, he might've still hung on for a couple more weeks and someone might miss his funeral. If we came too late, we couldn't say goodbye.
Well, it's too late to say goodbye. I at least was able to write him a letter and speak with him briefly on the phone. Apparently, he had a lot of visitors and well-wishers. That makes me feel good since he was always so good about visiting others in the hospital. I'm glad he knew he was loved.
I'm about to spend two-weeks with my religious family who are stricken with their loss, as I am and will be. I'm not sure what to expect from them, though. Will they try to use this as yet another ploy to get me "saved"? In my letter to my grandfather, I talked about God and how "the Lord" will say about his life, "It is good." For his sake, I chose to imply I was a Believer. I wanted nothing else but for his mind to be at ease concerning my eternal salvation, but... now that he's no longer here, I don't care to keep up the facade. I have no desire to flash my lack of belief in my family's face, but... my grandfather's death does not make a case for their faith. If anything, it speaks against it. Why would God allow one of his most faithful to die this way?
I don't need to know why my grandfather suffered; I know it's just a part of life. It's terribly sad and I hate losing him, but I know he no longer feels pain. I am tempted to feel guilty for not visiting them sooner; for not always calling on their birthdays; for not spending enough time with them or expressing how much I appreciate them. But, I have to at least know that he's no where in this universe accusing me or being hurt by my neglect. I know he knew I wanted to be there, and I know he knew I loved him and appreciated him. I can't waste time regretting what I cannot change.
I still can't believe he's gone. He and my grandmother are just part of this eternal duo. They've been there since the beginning of my life. I spent my first four years with them and they're probably the best model of a healthy, thriving relationship I'll ever know. Now I know to make more time for my grandmother, and to keep up with her better. Her and I were always close, and I hope we can be close despite the fact that I don't share her beliefs.
I probably won't be on T|A much in the next two weeks, but I guess I just felt compelled to share. Death is painful, but it is no reason to believe in fairy tales. Charles Crum is someone I'm proud to be a part of. If Christ was real, then my grandfather was the model of what a Christian should be. I'm not ashamed of him because I know that his message was LOVE, however tainted with misinformation.