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All Souls Day 2

alec vanderboom

My Papa (my paternal grandfather) died six days after my daughter's birth. Papa sent me flowers to my hospital room. He saw pictures of Baby Tess.

I didn't hear about his death immediately, because I was inside a hospital fighting for my baby's life.

My dad left the bedside of his dying father to come visit Baby Tess in the hospital, back when we just thought she had simple jaundice. As a result of that sacrifice, my father and my mother were with me the moment that I got the diagnosis that Tess had a fatal birth defect in her small intestine and would require immediate surgery. My parents were there for Baby Tess' emergency baptism. They drove me home from Children Hospital and spent the night in a hotel across the street from my apartment.

When I got home on Sunday night, after my whole world had been turned upside down, I logged onto facebook and saw a comment of condolence on my grandfather's passing left on my aunt's wall. I called my Dad at the hotel and asked if Papa had died. My Dad got choked up and said he wanted to tell me in person but Tessy's illness made the day so crazy there was never a good time.

I didn't get to grieve about my Papa's passing because I was in the NICU. I missed his Memorial Service because it was held three states away the weekend after we got Tess home from the hospital.

I'd hope to get to the Mass of Remembrance at my parish church tonight, but my husband needed me at home tonight. It's good to put marriage first and I got a pretty clear directive from Jesus saying "stay home from church tonight and feed your husband the pie you made him."

I'm fine that I missed All Souls Day Mass. Yet I'm totally confused. I'm left here wondering, when am I going to grieve my Papa?

This year, I lost both my maternal grandfather and my paternal grandfather. One loss is very real and healed and straight with Jesus. The other loss is just this numb, unreal "feeling."

We've got to pray for the dead, the ones that we were close to and the ones that we weren't. My Papa often chose work ahead of his family. That weakness was passed onto my father and onto me.

Sometimes people ask me why I don't just work part-time, and I think "I don't know how to do that." Working in moderation wasn't a trait demonstrated in my family. I fell into the family pattern of failing miserably at combining work and family , so I simply quit working.

And yet. . .

My father left the deathbed of his father to see me and Baby Tess.

Was that a good thing? Was that avoiding a painful reality?

I don't know.

I just know on a very, very hard day, I was so grateful for my Dad and my Mom's concerned presence inside their sick granddaughter's hospital room.