The Last Goodbye

For years you know people, you meet them and some of them make a mark upon you that you can’t explain.

Sometimes you grow apart, which is only natural. However, they’re still there in your life one way or another and what you felt about them is not something you can easily let go of.

The past three years my son’s grandfather fought a very valiant fight against cancer. He was strong and endured the chemo, everything the doctors threw at him. He was 6’4 and strong. However over time he weakened and parts of his jaw and body suffered along the way.

He kept going, and going.

I know many never understand this, but my son’s father and I never hated each other. It was quite the opposite. In the 13 years we’ve been divorced we’ve always been there for each other. Sure we both remarried the same year and had kids a short time later with those spouses, but we stayed friends. At one point we both lived less than two blocks from one another. We did this for our kid. His wife and I would babysit for the other’s kids. His wife and I would go to movies together. We liked each other. It was just natural.

Eventually we moved further away from them, yet closer to where 16’s father grew up. Where 16’s grandparents lived & where his father worked. Weekends and weeknights worked. Over the years from the time he was a baby we spent so much time with the ex’s parents that our son saw his grandfather as a second father. Every tuesday night he would spend the night there with his dad.

Then.

The day came several weeks ago when B’s wife called me to tell me how they didn’t think it was long. My ex FIL was in hospice.At home, but still.

Four weeks later upon picking up 16 for the night B took me outside to talk. He told me it was maybe a week. Maybe two. It was that severe. After he left I poured a glass of wine and cried. For his father. A great guy who loved my son. Who always treated me well all these years. For my son, who adored his grandfather something fierce.

A few days later they brought all of the family members in from Wisconsin. They said their last goodbyes. This was a close family. My son was so torn up his stepmother brought him back to me that night.

Days later I knew it was coming. His dad and grandmother didn’t want him there. But I pushed. His stepmother and I both knew it was either he said goodbye that day or else. We were right. His step-mother pushed. He went over and spent an hour. We took him with us to a baseball game.

Four hours later the call came. He was gone.

He’s been up and down for the last two weeks. The memorial service was hard. My ex FIL was one of those men that you can’t help but adore. My mom was there, my dad & stepmom were there. One of my brothers attended with me. Not a dry eye was within the house. He really was someone that changed people’s lives.

Last minute I was invited to the luncheon and it was awkward. I didn’t belong there. But I will say that the reception and love I felt from B’s cousins who once upon a time all those years ago while married, was overwhelming. They hugged me and cried with me.

I’m not good with the death of others. I experienced this with my grandparents but I couldn’t deal. This time because I had to be so strong for my own child who was dealing with it for the first time I felt a strength I never felt before.

There have been days he talks to me about how his stomach hurts. He will suddenly curl up next to me and cry. I’m trying.

He’s trying. I want to be the best parent for him I can be.

And I wish that sometimes we didn’t have to say goodbye.

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