Yesterday 7/24/2017 around 6 PM mountain time, my Grandpa on my Dad’s side passed away. He was 80 years old.
About 2.5 years ago he was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). In layman’s terms, LBD is pretty much both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s smashed together. Both your body and your mind deteriorate. All three are very hard diseases. It was tough for my family to watch as he slipped farther and farther away. Right at the end was particularly hard, especially for my Grandma. He opted out of anything that could prolong his life. That meant no antibiotics, no IVs, not even cold medicine. I understand why he did it. He didn’t want to prolong that state of existence when it wasn’t really him anymore. I respect his decision and recognize how brave he was to make that choice and accept his disease. A few days before he passed, he had a stroke. Because he opted out of everything that could save his life, he became unresponsive. He wasn’t even eating or drinking. After his stroke we just had to wait. He was able to receive morphine and other things to make him comfortable, but I can’t even begin to imagine how hard these last few days have been on my Grandma. I know they have been very hard on my dad and it has been very hard on me too, but it must have been infinitely worse for my Grandma. We will be able to go out next week to be with her.
But as hard as these last few days have been, even these last few years, I don’t want to remember him by his disease. My Grandpa was very smart. He was always working on computers. I know he learned Linux, which I had tried to figure out and was completely lost. And he didn’t learn Linux until later in life. Most older people have trouble with computers. They don’t just go out and learn Linux! He also knew tons of random facts. We would be on the road and he could tell you the history all sorts of things. He could tell you who built it, what year it was built, he could probably even tell you how many people were injured in the process. He watched the news and the weather channel all the time, so he always knew what was going on in the world and what the weather was like there.
My Grandpa loved movies. He had a TON of them. Almost any movie you could ever want to watch, that was older than me, he probably had it. He also loved to read. We had different tastes in books, so I can’t say we ever read the same things, but it was cool to share the passion. I remember when he got a Kindle and didn’t quite know how to use it. I showed him what to do, and he picked up on it really fast. I don’t know what happened to that kindle tho, cuz he definitely went back to reading physical books. I never asked him why he stopped using his kindle. I remember one morning, when my grandparents were visiting, that I woke up earlier than normal, and My Grandpa was the only other person awake (he always got up early) and we just hung out at the kitchen table reading our own books. It was very peaceful. We didn’t feel the need to talk, we just hung out and enjoyed our books.
My Grandpa was a huge Oregon Ducks fan. I don’t know if he was the first in our family to like the Ducks or if it started before him, but he passed that love to my dad and uncles, who passed it down to me. Oregon is really the only college football team that I truly cared about for a long time. (Until my boyfriend came along and now I kinda like his team too, tho not as much) I remember multiple occasions sitting in my grandparents living room watching the game. It was a family event. We all watched it together and cheered for the Ducks. And my Grandpa was there drinking his O’Doul’s.
Even when we weren’t watching a game, my Grandpa was always drinking O’Doul’s. It was just part of who he was, and I will always think of him when I see a can of O’Doul’s. He used to drink regular beer, but because of his really bad gout the doctor told him he couldn’t drink alcohol anymore. The way the story is told, he switched to O’Doul’s cold turkey, and never looked back. That’s dedication if you ask me. Most people I know wouldn’t be able to make the switch as completely as he did, even if its for medical reasons. But that happened either before my time or when I was too little to remember/care. But now I will forever associate O’Doul’s with my Grandpa.
After my Grandpa was diagnosed, but before he got really bad, we took a family trip to California. We went and saw a Padres game. It was really cool. I remember realizing I didn’t have very many pictures with my Grandpa so I decided to take a picture with him. I said something along the lines of “Lets Take a Picture” and held up my phone with the camera facing us. I started to explain where to look, and he interrupted me and said “Its a selfie” I had no idea he knew what a selfie was and remember thinking how awesome it was that he did.
I am going to miss him. It still feels weird knowing I won’t ever see him. I have cried a lot and I am sure I will cry more. I’m trying, and failing, not to cry right now, while I am writing this. I am able to take some comfort in the fact that he is no longer in pain, and that he had a good life. But it is still really hard. I love my family so much, and they are all so amazing people, and we will help each other get through this. I just wanted to say:
I Love You Grandpa. I miss you, and I hope that wherever you are you are happy. Go Ducks! And thanks for the selfie. I Love you. Goodbye Grandpa.