This night, ten years ago…
On this night, ten years ago I sat up with my Uncle Jimmy — or UJ as we call him — while his mom, my Grandma slept soundly in the next room.
We had all spent the day at the hospital, on watch over my Gpa Mike — we had been advised that this would be his last day with us. As if to show up the doctors (again!), Gpa made it through the day. Expecting the same would not be said about the night, the family devised a “plan” of how to handle what we thought was the inevitable-night-news that Gpa had passed. Wanting to spare me from having to be the one to tell Grandma when the call came in, my mom asked that one of her siblings go back to the family home in Bolsover with me — UJ reluctantly volunteered.
We waited all night, sitting by the phone. To calm our nerves we talked about the things we learned about our dad/grandpa that we didn’t know until the recent days. We shared our favourite stories about our loved one — we laughed. A lot. Midnight came and left us. A new day. Technically. At 4am we decided we better get some shut eye. I lay down that night knowing in my heart it was the last night that I would have my beloved grandpa.
Before turning off the lights, I looked one more time at the obituary I had written. I had started it a week ago and made little tweaks every night before bed. All the details were in place expect for a date to mark Gpa’s passing — I knew the month would be March, I left a blank underline for the day to be added. My mom knew I was working on it but some feeling of superstition told me not to show it to anyone. Although common sense told me otherwise, my heart allowed me to wonder for a moment if I would get to tweak it tomorrow night….
I felt as if I had just closed my eyes when the phone rang. It was about 630am. From the first ring to when my Uncle answered on ring three felt like an eternity. I remember UJ asking if I thought it was the hospital – the sleep deprivation was showing! In the end, the call we were waiting on was not the call we were expecting: the rest of the family was letting us know that Gpa, apparently still defiant, made it through the night.
On this night, ten years ago… it feels like yesterday.