Monday, February 25, 2008

My Last Conversation With Grandpa Larry

I kept meaning to post about this. Here's a huge testimony to God's amazing orchestration skills. Well, to me it's huge. Take it how you will.

So back in Rocktober of last year, I thought I was pretty close to wrapping up the stupid divorce thing. I had verbal agreements from future ex on all sorts of things. We were putting it into writing and getting it ready to sign. The end was so close I could taste it.

Very early in that same month, I was informed that future ex had procured a lawyer. After months of me doing all the work and paying for a lawyer (future ex and I had wanted to do the whole thing as cheaply as possible), here he comes with a lawyer? His dad was footing the bill. As you can imagine, this soured me greatly on the subject of his dad. I could totally see why he might do this. But at the time it sent me through the roof. I was SO mad at Larry. On so many levels.

I eventually got over the rage. It simmered down to a low boil but it stayed there. I'd have periodic moments of feeling like oh who cares anyway. I mean, if it drags on for 5 years, that's really future ex shooting himself in his I-can't-wait-to-marry-my-new-girlfriend foot. But it still made me incredibly mad on other days.

His action of hiring a lawyer for future ex brought all of our contact to a finish. His wife - my wonderful neutral mother-in-law - tried to keep the family bonds there and the lines of communication there. She made a valiant effort that I hugely appreciated. I love her dearly for that. But in my mind, every time I communicated with her, I wanted to rave about her husband. I didn't. It wasn't her fault.

Anyway, this simmering fester pot went on in me for months. Not good. I prayed quite often - don't get me wrong. I wasn't just sitting on it. I kept asking God to help me forgive and let go. He did get me to a place where I could at least understand how a father would try to help his son, stupid or not. But I was still indignant.

When Larry got sick, I wasn't really that worried. And I don't mean I was cold. I just honestly knew he'd be fine eventually. He's a rock. You can't bring that man down with some abdominal infection. Even when it became a tumor, I knew he'd be back in top form in a year or two. But I knew at that point that we were dealing with risks and fears that go beyond an infection that won't go away. Although I felt he'd be fine and we would all look back on our panic and laugh some day, I felt it was the right thing to do to honor the severity of the whole issue. To do something. But I wasn't sure what would be the right something, given how I knew we probably felt about each other.

I talked to The Nurse in law about it. She suggested sending a card. I'm so not a card person any more. No. I was going to risk it. I was going to call him in the hospital. I mean, the worst he could do is be gruff and brief.

I called the hospital and he answered. He was pretty sick at this point and warned me he might throw up during the call (the tumor was pressing on his stomach). I told him I thought of sending a card but decided to call in stead. I said something to the effect of knowing he might not want to hear from me but too bad - here I am. He was genuinely happy to hear from me. Which surprised me but didn't.

I told him that I was sorry he was so sick and I was praying for him and knew he'd get better. We were having a pretty nice conversation. Then he said, "I'm sorry I got in the middle of things. I didn't want to get involved. But I just couldn't watch him...just standing there!" That blew my mind. I hadn't expected an apology at all. I had thought we'd avoid the subject altogether. If we did discuss it, I had expected to hear his justifications of why he funded a lawyer for future ex. And this man hasn't exactly tossed the apologies around with me and future ex.

And at that particular moment, it was like it all snapped. Like clarity hit me - a total peace. I said something to the effect of, "Larry, you're a dad. You did what a parent would do. I mean, I'd probably do it for my kids if I had to." I meant it, too. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, who cares who gets what stuff or what cash or whatever. I just cared that Larry got better. So I told him that. I just wanted him better. Then we talked about the boys. They were in the kitchen with me so he could hear them a bit. I gave him an update on each one to bring him up to speed on what his grandsons were up to. Pretty soon into that subject, the boys started getting restless and I had to go address dinner with them.

For one of the only times in my entire experience with Larry, I ended the phone call. That was weird. He's famous for abruptly ending a phone call with, "OK then, goodbye," and hanging up. Literally that abrupt. I felt bad when I had to tell him the boys needed me and I wanted to go because he really seemed into talking. But he was still pretty sick and the rest would probably do him good.

After that, my mother-in-law told me that our conversation had meant so much to Larry. And to her. When he passed so suddenly (well, to ME it was sudden), I thought, "Wow. God orchestrated that conversation." I've been thanking God ever since.

There you go. That was my last conversation with Grandpa Larry. For now.


Jo Anne O. said...

How fortunate you were in being able to tell him something he probably didn't expect to hear and to have a conversation that released all the pent up feelings. I know you are glad it happened too!

Stacy said...

I'm glad you got a chance to talk to him. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

Trish Ryan said...

Wow. God orchestrates such amazing things. Thanks for letting us be part of it, in some small way. So encouraging.

Kristen said...

What a blessing that you were able to have that great conversation and that God brought you the peace you needed in your heart. :-)

JenKneeBee said...

It is so wonderful that you were able to have that kind of closure with a man you obviously have such strong ties to.

ellesappelle said...

That's so great you got that opportunity.

Barrie said...

People can be so surprising. You never know when an apology is just around the corner. Glad you had this phone conversation.