Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Our lives are made up of moments; large and small, meaningful and unidentifiable. Among the moments that make up our lives each of us experience “Defining Moments.” These are moments in our lives that change us forever.
Defining moments change your opinion of someone or something. They can change your view of a subject or the world at large. Bottom line, they change who you are from that moment on.
May 26, 2007 held a defining moment for me. On that day my Grandfather passed away. His passing in and of it’s self was not a defining moment. We knew it was coming, and had known for several days.
In April he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He was given a few options for treatment; chemo, surgery or nothing at all. At age 84 he was a very active man, he loved photography and traveling the world. It came as no surprise to any of us that he chose surgery to remove the cancer. His thoughts were go in, get it out, and move on.
On May 16, 2007 he went in for surgery. He came out as he had predicted…cancer free.
On May 20, 2007, while still in the hospital recovering, he suffered a massive heart attack and had to be resuscitated three times. He ultimately ended up on a respirator. He would never come off.
On May 24, 2007 I saw him for the first time in over a year. When I entered his room he was awake and alert. When he saw me, the man I had grown up with as the patriarch of our family; strong, stable, sobbed. A piece of my heart broke away that day. I sat simply holding his hand. There were no words I could say. I knew he was dying and although I had much I wished to say, I simply held his once strong hand.
On the morning of May 26, 2007 his doctors informed us he was in complete organ failure. It was left to my Grandmother, his wife of 62 years, and his six children to decide whether to keep him on the respirator or let him go.
Once the decision was made my Grandmother asked that we all be present for his passing. I walked silently into his hospital room along with my Grandmother, my mother, my three sisters, my four aunts and five of my cousins. The nurse explained not only to us, but also to my Grandfather, what would happen next. He shook his head in agreement with silent tears rolling down his cheeks.
As the machines were shut off and the respirator toob was removed my Grandmother held his hand. All the while my mother and her sisters gathered around his bed. In less than two minutes he was gone.
On May 26, 2007 I walked into a hospital room in Arizona as one person, but I left as a completely different person. Being present for my Grandfathers passing was a gift and a defining moment in my life. I am so grateful to have had him as my Grandfather for 35 years and I’m blessed to have him watching over me now.