September 17, 2001
I share a two-family house with my grandparents, Nanny and Poppy. They are both in their 80's and God loving people. I don't know if it's Alzheimer's or senility, but lets just say that Poppy is very forgetful. He is also pretty immobile and doesn't get much opportunity to leave the house. For the past several years, he spends most of his days with his feet up on the couch watching television and reading the papers while he has his cigar. It's his routine.
Every day when Poppy wakes up, he remembers experiences from sixty years ago, but he doesn't remember what happened yesterday. He turns on the television or reads the papers and his brain is hearing/seeing for the first time what is going on in his own backyard. Several times throughout the day he realizes the situation as if hearing it for the first time. I try to go downstairs as often as I can to create a diversion, but whenever I do... there Poppy sits crying.
Poppy's innocent brain looks out the window and sees the American Flags in our yard and our neighbor's yards and asks if it is Flag Day. How do you explain what has happening to a man who's only memories consist of days of youth, peace, love and pride?
March 24, 2002
Tonight I held the Albuterol tube in Poppy's mouth and he thought it was a microphone. So, he started singing Louie Prima's "Oh Marie". Always the entertainer...
March 31, 2002
Happy Easter, my friends!
We are making arrangements to bring Poppy home so he can rest peacefully in the world that he lived and created. There is nothing more the doctors can do for him. We’ve been spending days and nights with him, holding on to him and praying for him. His hour is near. I hold comfort in the fact that people whose lives he has touched surround him. He has lived a full life. Eight-four years. He has lived to see his family grow and expand with his beliefs and character. He has lived an honest and pure life. He has made a great difference in this world and his impact will always be felt. He will always be missed, but he will never die. His life continues through us and the lives we touch.
April 1, 2002
Last night will go down is history as one of the happiest moments of my life. Poppy and I said the rosary together in honor of Easter Sunday. He remembered all the prayers and recited some new ones for me. For those moments, he was back in the days of his youth when he was an alter boy. He told me stories that I had never heard before. Stories of a young, innocent man trying to make a better place of the world he lived in.
Today is April 1st. Six years ago today I moved in with Nanny and Poppy. I wouldn't give up one day for anything in the world. These have been the happiest and most love filled years of my life. Each day I get to spend with them is a gift I am truly thankful for.
April 20, 2003
Last Easter Sunday, Poppy lay in his hospital bed. I sat beside him and we said the rosary together.
This Easter Sunday, Poppy lay in his grave. Again, I sat beside him and we said the rosary together.
He is with me as much in his death as he was in his life.
June 14, 2003
I went to Poppy's grave today. It will be one year tomorrow that he passed away. Two stories:
At the funeral I was the last person with Poppy's casket. After they lowered him, I tossed a single rose on top of the casket. This year, I wanted to leave the same gesture. I went to the florist this morning. They were closed, but there was a guy in the parking lot who worked there. I told him I needed one rose and he gave me six. I asked him how much I owed him and he said, "No Charge." You think Poppy is with me? I left one rose on top of his headstone and laid the other five before him.
Second story. I'm a barefoot kind of gal. I never wear shoes or socks. It drove Poppy crazy. He always yelled at me, "What are you doing in your bare feet?" "Here comes Lisa now! ...in her bare feet." "Put something on your feet!" He went so far as to give me a bunch of his socks and once sent Nanny to buy me a pair of slippers. Never before has this happened... I have a huge splinter in my foot now. Do you think Poppy is with me? If he could come back as anything, he would come back as a splinter to teach me a lesson.
Miss you Poppy.
November 23, 2003
Allow me to get a
little sentimental here. I used to live for the
holidays. I'd start preparing weeks, even months in
advance. Throughout my entire life, Nanny & Poppy were at
every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Birthday. Since the
loss of Poppy, my heart just isn't in it anymore. It doesn't
seem right. I miss him. I miss him every day and the
holidays just amplify the loss.
After I recently
learned of yet another completely selfless humanitarian act Poppy
performed years ago, I started thinking. After losing someone
close to them, some people wish they could have one last
conversation with that person.
That is one thing I
don't need to do. I lived with Poppy for the last seven years
of his life. I saw him every day and every day he made me
laugh and feel absolutely loved. He was my hero and I
respected everything he stood for. He made me want to be a
better person... more like him.
When he was sick
and dying. I spent repeated nights by his side in the hospital
and at home. I was there when he woke up scared and not
knowing where he was. I held his hand and did everything I
could to make him feel safe. I fed him, I cleaned him, I
prayed with him and I couldn't have loved him more.
One time towards
the end, he sat in his wheelchair in his bare feet. I bent
down and gently put warm socks on him. I looked up at his face
and he looked at me like I was an angel. He might not have
known who I was at that stage, but he knew whoever I was, I loved
him and cared about him. I learned that from him.
Every day I
remember Poppy is absent from my life. But I know that
although he can't be with me in body, he follows me every day in
spirit. There is nothing left unsaid or undone between Poppy
and I. Our relationship was built on pure love and
admiration. I just miss him with all of my heart. Some
things will never be the same without him. Right now, the
holidays aren't complete without Poppy at the head of the table.