This is so surreal. My father-in-law died this afternoon. My sister-in-law called me as we waited at the barber for haircuts. He had taken a turn for the worse. They had stopped "heroic measures" and were now starting "comfort measures." Keep him comfortable while he's with us. Future ex didn't know yet - he was still on his way home from work.
I packed the boys back into the car and told them we're going to see daddy. "Why?" Yes, we don't go see daddy in the middle of the week. "Well, grandpa isn't doing well." Dumb of me. They have three living grandpas still. They assumed it was MY dad. "Then why are we going to see DAD?" So I explain which grandpa and I start preparing them telling them that Grandpa Larry is not doing well at all. And this means he could die. "Oh." So I told them we'll go be there for daddy.
I called future ex and left him a message saying the boys and I were coming down to Austin and would he like to go to dinner. He called back and sounded psyched to see the boys. Ugh. He asked why we were coming in to Austin. Oh we just wanted a drive, says I.
The whole way down, I just prayed. Praying for Nana Linda. Praying for Grandpa Larry. Praying for future ex. Talking to God saying things like, "I totally don't get what you're doing here. I'm really looking for one of those really big miracles here, ok? Just be with Linda. Just make Larry ok." I keep thinking this huge healing will be some kind of life changing event for everyone and they'll all see God is real. Or actually, I think it was more selfish than that. Sure the man majorly pissed me off by funding a lawyer for future ex a while back. But come on. He's my father-in-law. For many years, I considered him one of my best friends. I used to call him all the time and talk to him about all sorts of stuff. I confided amazing amounts of stuff to this man. He had a unique world view that couldn't be found in anyone else. He was gruff, grumpy, a giant pain in the ass at times. But he loved his son with a ferocity. And in turn, he loves MY two sons with an even greater ferocity. So yah God, I want this man around. I just don't understand the timing of all of this.
So the whole drive down, I'm still thinking this will just be a lot of emotional drama but he'll pull through somehow.
We pulled up to future ex's apartment complex. I told the boys, look, don't mention Grandpa because I'm not sure daddy knows yet. Let daddy tell us. When future ex opened the door, he was still in his jacket, he was on the phone and his eyes were red and puffy. Yah. He knew. But *I* didn't know.
He hung up and said, "Come here." That's when he told me his dad had just died. Hand to the mouth - gasp! Impossible! I just prayed the whole way down here!! This man - this force in our lives - he can't be dead. I mean, honestly, just three weeks ago, was it? Three weeks ago we find out it might be cancer. And he's DEAD? This is insanity.
You think stupid things when life gets weird. You think things like, maybe I didn't pray sincerely enough because my prayers were tainted with my own emotional baggage. Thankfully I have people with brains around me to remind me that the God I serve doesn't work that way. I'm not sure why this is happening right now. It's part of the mystery of life, eh?
Well, I was glad I was there. When things like this happen, they tend to put the whole dumb divorce thing in perspective. I was there to comfort him. And my boys. We were able to tell the boys together - as a family. The way it should be done. Lil' Bro is 4. He doesn't get it. He's wide eyed and has that kind of hidden smile you get when you know something is very serious but you feel kind of like laughing anyway but you know you can't. Pokemon Boy seemed to understand the gravity of it but it didn't touch him because he hasn't see Grandpa Larry since 2005. So future ex and I sat there talking with the boys nearby. And then it hit Pokemon Boy. The floodgates opened. I knew they would. He is the sensitive one. He's intuitive and empathetic. He has memories of Larry. He knows this is his dad's dad. He saw his dad cry and me cry. He got it. And he let it out. Lil' Bro found other things to distract him while Pokemon Boy let it out and let me fold him up on my lap. I'm glad we were all four there.
After the shock had some time to settle in and get us all numb, we all decided to go out to eat. So I took future ex somewhere nice but mellow. We all ate. We all supported each other. Pokemon Boy asked me, even though I'm getting divorced, am I still part [his surname]. I told him that even though I go back to using my own last name, I will always be part [his surname] because he's part of me and I'm part of him and that family will always be a part of me. Hopefully that was what he needed to hear.
Anyway, future ex told me he has appreciated all the prayers I've been telling him they've been getting. He really does. I can tell. Maybe this unconditional love he's received from tons of people who, in any other reality, would go out of their way to make his life hell...maybe that's what God is doing here. Maybe that's what future ex will take away. Who knows. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about.
It's so weird when people are taken from you suddenly. Honestly, I figured Larry would be here for a long time - part of the boys' lives for years. Wow.
I sure am glad I called him when he first was in the hospital and we knew it was pretty serious. I'm glad we had that conversation that cleared the air. My mother-in-law told me he really appreciated that conversation and he felt it put things straight between us. Man, I had no idea how important that one conversation was. Who knew it would be my last one with him. I'm glad I told him I love him. Because I do. And it hurts that he's gone. And it hurts even worse that I have to participate in such an awkward fractured way.
At this point, I plan to head up to the funeral. There's no way that man is leaving this world without me being there. I did ask future ex - I mean, it really is his call at this point. He may be a jerk sometimes but he knows how important Larry is to me. He expects me to be there. Good. Because I'd really hate to have to pummel a man who just lost his father.
So that's today. I'm numb. And terribly sad. And full of things I'm feeling I could have done differently. I hate that part.
12-28-2003 - Grandpa Larry meets 6-day-old Lil' Bro