Time to Say Goodbye

Last week, my family unfortunately had to say goodbye to my grandfather. After a 20 year battle with heart disease, it was all too much for his ailing heart.

I got the call Monday night that things were not looking good and that we should head down to the hospital. Earlier that afternoon, my grandfather would have suffered his last heart attack. They rushed him to the hospital where they told my father that he would not make it through the night. The family was quickly assembled together and we were all at his bedside.

When I first I arrived, I had expected the worse. I expected to see him with tubes and IVs and that he wouldn’t be conscious. I was surprised when I walked into the room to see him sitting up and hear him say “Hey it’s Stephie!”. I had a glimmer of hope. A hope that he would hold on just a little longer.

As we sat around and talked, the hope grew more. My grandfather was making jokes and laughing in between taking cat naps. He told us about how during high school, he only went to school four days a week. He never went on Fridays. He asked for us to tell jokes. And then, he talked about how he was looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep that night. That he was looking forward to seeing my grandmother. It had been a long 22 years since her passing.

When the priest came in to perform last rites, I had to leave the room. I wasn’t ready to accept that this was really happening. After the priest left, he looked us all in the eye and said “I am at peace with the world. I am ready. I am not afraid.” Any glimmer of hope I had went out the window. For a moment, I was sad. Then, strangely, I was happy. It’s not often that you get to hear from someone before they die that they are ready to die. For whatever reason, hearing that from him has made his passing just a little more bearable.

He is no longer suffering.

He is no longer in pain.

He told us that he was looking forward to the big party that was surely waiting for him. He and my grandmother were infamous for their parties. They really knew how to live it up. And if I had to guess, they are having the grandest party right now.


My grandfather loved Christmas. I think what made it the most special to him was that it was all about the family. We all got together. We had a family pollyana. We drew names on Black Friday. I got my grandfather. Before we left that night before he passed, he said “Whoever has me for pollyana, make sure you get me the right CD. I want the new Andrea Bocelli CD. Not the Christmas one. The one from Central Park.” I took note and was going to run out and bring it the next day. Sadly, he passed away in his sleep and I never got the chance to give it to him. At his viewing Friday night, I brought the CD. I put a little red bow on it and placed it in the casket with him. On Saturday, when we said our final goodbyes, I left it with him. After all, he really, really wanted it.

I used the songs on the CD for a slideshow that we played at the luncheon following the services. How fitting that the first song that played was “Time to Say Goodbye”.

I love you Pop-Pop and I miss you already! You will always been watching over us and will always be in our hearts.

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  1. So sorry about your PopPop Steph. and what a gift it is to have been able to spend time with him before he passed. You were so very lucky to have him as long as you did.

  2. Awww, its fortunate you gotthose moments. Love that you get called stephie too, both my grandmas do that to me.

  3. I’m so very sorry for your loss.
    What a gift that you have a good, final memory of your grandfather. Mine had similar issues, and I was one of last to visit him before he passed. He told stories, laughed, and I too got called “steffie” one last time. I really didn’t believe just a few hours later he was gone. He was the grandfather I always remembered that day, not the one who was sick all those years leading up to his death.

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. I bet he’s celebrating with your grandmother. Glad you all could at least know he was at peace. Lots of prayers for you and your family.

  5. My heart goes out to you and now I am in tears. Mom is back in the hospital ICU for pnuemonia and she also has heart issues. My memaw and my uncle both passed in the month of December. sending you love and prayers.

  6. What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. I’m glad you had the chance to spend time with him before his death. Thinking of you.

  7. Stephanie – That is the first time I ever cried from reading a post. What a beautiful passing, if there can be such a thing, and what a beautiful tribute to your grandfather.

  8. I am so sorry for your loss. But that is a beautiful story. One that you can always pass on to your boys. I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to hear about how amazing her great-grandfather (who passed away while I was pregnant with her) was. Your grandfather sounds like a wonderful man. Peace be with you.

  9. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. It makes me smile to think of the party he must be having right now! And to be able to say goodbye, and know he was at peace… I can’t think of a better gift.

    I’m sorry for your loss, but thankful for those amazing years you were able to have with him!

  10. I’m always careful when I say “I understand” or “I can relate”…but here I will not hold back. I hear you loud and clear. Grandpas are the best! I said good-bye to mine earlier this year too. They are a treasure and teach us so much with sometimes saying so little. I’m really sorry for the loss of your Pop Pop, but rejoice with you as he parties on!

  11. I’m sorry for your loss, he sounds like a wonderful man and it makes me jealous that I never really knew my grandfathers. Best wishes to you and yours!

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