Good bye Grandpa…..

12 07 2011

So I know I still owe the follow up entry to our trip to Ocean City – which I will do, I just haven’t had a chance.  I updated your journal, put pics in the photo album and posted pics to facebook – so I guess that’s why I just haven’t felt like writing about it one more time, but I will.  We really had fun on that trip and I know you’ll love reading about it someday.  But this entry needed to happen so here I go.

This past Saturday was a day I always knew was coming but it’s hit me in a way I never expected.  I had left you with Daddy so I could meet a friend in the city to go over a photography job we’re doing later in the month.  We’re shooting a wedding and I am both excited and nervous about it – and it’s taken forever for Brian and I to be able to get together to talk about this.  Well as I was waiting for Brian in the lobby of his building I get a call that my dad is in the hospital, his blood pressure is really low and that he is very sick and he’s probably not going to make it – they didn’t know how long.  I couldn’t believe it – not so much that this call finally came, I was just so mad at myself for being so far away when it happened.  My dad hasn’t had much of a life these last 35 years or so, in and out of hospitals and institutions, and I couldn’t believe that he was going to be in a hospital dying alone.  Thankfully I made it to his bedside on time and I was with him when he passed on.  It’s going to be a tough memory to carry with me but I couldn’t have had it any other way – I couldn’t let my daddy pass on alone.

Monkey, my daddy has been sick my whole life – and well before that.  He spent all of my childhood in and out of mental hospitals.  But it wasn’t until he was in his late 50’s – early 60’s that he was finally diagnosed as Manic Depressive and given medicine that kept him “normal”.  By that time he was down in an Institution in Florida – all by himself with no family around.  Me and my sister had gone down to Florida with my dad when his illness got really bad and he had to be committed.  Me and my sister were living with people so we were taken care of – but eventually we ended up back in NY with family and my dad stayed in the hospital in Florida.  I was 10 or 11 years old when he went in and it was over 12 years before I saw him again.

Unfortunately I don’t have many memories of my father and some of the ones I have aren’t very good ones – his illness was at fault and I don’t blame him at all.  My dad had six kids between his two marriages and in the end I was all he had – I was the only one that could see past the illness and love him just because he was my daddy.

Some things I know about Grandpa that I’d want you to know –

1.  according to my Aunt Jean, his sister, he was always getting in to trouble as a kid.  one time some of the kids had gone with my grandma on the bus to the grocery store – and on the way home my dad ate all the cherries.  pounds of them –  he just sat on the back of the bus eating them all.  now my grandma was straight off the boat from italy and I’m sure my dad got an old country spanking for that one.

2.  according to Aunt Jeanie he was running off to smoke cigarettes at a very young age (don’t you ever pick up this nasty habit!!!)

3. he was a great bowler.  i’m told he bowled a perfect game more then once.

4.  he liked to bet on horses and one time he took me to Belmont Racetrack with him and let me pick the horses – even though I didn’t know what I was doing and only picked horses because I liked their names and not because of the odds 🙂

5.  he taught me how to check pay phone coin returns for loose change – there was one time when I am pretty sure he slipped coins in to a bank of phones before he sent me to check because I found money in each and every one!

6.  he loved chinese food and he always took me and my sister to eat out at a chinese restaurant

7.  he’d let me drink all the creamers for the coffee when we went out to dinner

8.  Grandma Candy says she loved Uncle Luchy (that’s what everyone in the family called him) because he was the fun uncle.  Whenever the family got together he was the one that would play with the kids and have a good time

9.  I brought you to meet your grandpa on my first birthday after you were born – thankfully my dad was in good spirits that day  and it seems like he was lucid enough to understand you were my son.  He didn’t quite get that you were his grandson, but please don’t be upset because he never quite remembered that I was his daughter 😦  I was just Donna Marie, the one that came to see him all the time.  Senile dementia is a sad thing monkey.

10. even when Grandpa was at his sickest though, he still could be a charmer.  at the nursing home where he spent his final years he was known for being quite a handful.  he called people horrible names, hit people and could just be a pain in the butt – but there were times when he could be incredibly sweet.  It was moments like those when he charmed the socks off one of the aides there, her name is Carrie Williams but my dad always called her Cassie.  She took a liking to him like no one else there did and she looked after him better then anyone.  knowing she was there to care for him really made my life easier  and she came to visit him in the hospital on that last day.  it wasn’t 10 minutes after she left that he decided to let go and I truly believe that he waited not only for me, but for his Cassie Williams to come before he’d say good bye.