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.

Views: 6

Comment by luvtheheaven on January 25, 2010 at 6:54pm
I too am very sorry for your loss. It definitely sounds like the world was a better place for having had him in it and at least he was fairly old, so you can take comfort in the fact that he lived a long, full, life and was such a good person and was so loved. I've never lost anyone who I was very close to, although fairly recently my own grandfather died and I was surprisingly sad about it... I cried both on the day he died and at his memorial service (I couldn't stop crying and the damn tissues were over by my grandmother, who needed them too of course but seriously, I couldn't stop wishing they were closer lol!).

I definitely hope your atheism and/or your family's religious beliefs doesn't become too much of a problem as you all meet up and are grieving.

My sincerest empathy goes to you right now...
Comment by Wesley on January 25, 2010 at 7:34pm
I know exactly where you are coming from and I'm so sorry for your loss. I didn't get to go see my grandfather in the hospital or later when they sent him home to die. He was a tremendous person and I loved him more than I have words to say.
Comment by Shine on January 25, 2010 at 7:46pm
Please accept my condolences to you and your family during this difficult time.

Death is painful, but it is no reason to believe in fairy tales.

This is one of the wisest, strongest statements that a person can make. I hope that your two weeks among religious mourners is not unduly painful for you.
Comment by Wesley on January 25, 2010 at 7:58pm
Let me add that my father passed away in 2004. He too was a preacher(Methodist) (and my grandfather's youngest son) and one of the best people to ever walk the planet..(in my opinion of course) He lived and preached LOVE and taught people by example how to get along with and support each other through life's difficulties. A day hardly goes by that I don't think of him.

He was a vegatarian, healthfood and supplement nut... walked 6 or 7 miles a day...(on top of the thirty or so he did just running around town) We thought he'd outlive us all.
He had a stroke, a bleeding stroke that temporarily paralyzed him.... He was recovering nicely and his first sermon back he did a wonderful job. At the end of the service he put down his cane and high-stepped it down the aisle. About an hour later he suffered a second MASSIVE stroke...and lay in the hospital for a week before he died. Fortunately we were able to be there though I do not think he knew it.

If you ever need an ear... I have two.
Comment by Nathan Hevenstone on January 25, 2010 at 8:41pm
I haven't lost a grandparent yet, but it was no more then a few years ago when I lost my great-grandparents, and I was so close to them. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Admittedly, this is a time when it's easiest to wish something was out there. Let them believe is all I can say. Avoid all conversations of that nature, and let them believe.

I hope you find comfort in your family. Remember him as he was. Keep the good memories. Remember the good times.

I'll join in sending empathy and thoughts your way.

And just a thought: it's hard not to mourn somebody's death. They are gone and you have lost someone close.

However, instead, celebrate their life. Celebrate your happy memories with them and the good times. Celebrate what they did in their life. Comfort yourself knowing life was good when he was alive. Celebrate what you had.
Comment by Skycomet the Fallen Angel on January 25, 2010 at 10:07pm
*lends a shoulder to cry on* I'm so sorry this happened CaraColeen! Well you can take some solice [I know it's not much] in knowing that he's not suffering anymore.
Take as long as you want before coming back to TA. We'll be here to lend a hand if you need us, but if you need some time away... we understand.
Comment by Cara Coleen on January 25, 2010 at 10:14pm
Thanks everyone... I appreciate your support :)
Comment by Dave G on January 26, 2010 at 10:13am
My deepest sympathies, Cara. :( I know what you mean when you say it is hard to believe that he is gone. My own grandfather and grandmother are an eternal duo as you describe, and I dread the day that one or the other might die.
Comment by Galen on January 26, 2010 at 10:23pm
I'm very sorry for your loss, Cara. I, too, was not present for my grandfather's death. I was 9,000 miles away on another continent when he died and I very much regretted not having the chance to be there to say good-bye to him.

Good luck with your family. I hope they're not so insensitive as to use this time to preach fairy tails to you. They probably will, though. At the very least you'll hear all about how he's "with Jesus now" and whatnot. I haven't been through a death since discovering my own atheism, but I can't imagine that all that nonsense talk helps at all. Again, best of luck in dealing with it.
Comment by Robert E. O'Dell on January 27, 2010 at 1:08am
I'm very sorry to hear about your family's loss Cara. Death and loss are very hard and trying on all of us. Please do not let any collaborations of those may conspire to preclude the respect due his passing control your heartfelt grief. He is gone now and we should pay the respect of missing our passed good people. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with us when it would have been so excusable of you to ignore this community at this time. Rob

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