8 years ago, I got the hardest phone call I've ever received. I will never forget that day or the days that led up to it. Sometimes, I forget to brush my teeth. Sometimes, I put my keys in a different place and have to search the house to find them. I often forget to sign Seth's folder for school, but I remember so clearly what I was doing when I got that call.
You were very sick, had been in the ICU, and the doctors said you were doing alot better. You were in a regular room. I got to come and see you and you told me that you would go home soon, maybe the next day. I leaned down to hug you and you gave me a big kiss. As I turned to go, you grabbed my hand and squeezed. "Take care of that baby," you said. I looked down at my growing belly. I was pregnant with my first child. I know that you were disappointed at first when you found out I had become pregnant before marriage at such a young age. But you never let on that you felt that way. You asked me how I was feeling often and you still told me you loved me and treated me well. "I will, Grandpa," I said. It was the last thing you said to me. I took it to heart Grandpa. I want you to be proud of me, and I have taken extra special care of him just for you.
Shortly after that day in your hospital room, I was visiting my boyfriend at the time, Mark. I lived in Denton, because I had been going to school at Texas Women's University. I had come to Bedford to see him and stay the night. We decided to go get something to eat before I headed back to Denton to go to work at my job at Chuck E Cheese. While I ate lunch at the restaurant he worked at, I realized my phone was ringing. I ignored it. When we were done eating, I went to the restroom and Mark got started working his afternoon shift. I looked at my phone to see who had called. Under missed calls, it said Mommy. I knew. I knew why she called. I don't know how, but I did. I stared at her name for the longest time before I finally pressed the voicemail button and slowly lifted the phone to my ear. "Call me as soon as you get this," she said. Her voice sounded so far away. It was as if I was in slow motion as I walked slowly out to my truck. I again, stared down at "Mommy" on the screen of my phone, after I had gotten in the truck. I prayed. "Dear God, please don't let it be. Please let it be anything other than what I think it is."
I pressed the call button. The phone rang and she answered. I told her I was returning her call and she very calmly told me that you were gone. You had passed away in the night. I could feel my heart breaking. It hurt so very badly. "No," I said. She asked if I wanted my Daddy to come and get me so I could join the family at your house. I declined. I said I was fine. I did not tell her I was already in Bedford. I don't know why. I told her I needed to take a shower and I would come soon. We hung up after saying, "I love you." I sat in my truck for what seemed like an eternity before I calmly walked back into the restaurant and asked Mark if I may go back to his house and shower. I told him what happened. He gave me a hug and told me to go ahead to his house. I went back there, and I took a shower and I laid down on the bed. And I cried. And cried. I cried for ages it seemed and then I fell asleep.
I woke up some time later and realized I needed to be with my family. I got up and I went to your house and found my Mommy and hugged her so hard. I found Grandma and hugged her hard as well. That day was a sad day for me. It was especially hard finding out that you would never meet your first great grandchild. I decided I would make you so proud of me. I took your picture with me to the hospital when Seth was born. I felt that you should be there for his birth. After he was born, during the first few hours I was alone with him, I pulled out your picture and I showed him. I said, "Seth, this is your Great Grandpa. He was a wonderful man and I loved him. I am so very sad that you will never get to meet him." I wave at your grave site when I drive by it. If I must go to that area of town, I make sure to drive by. I like to think you are sitting on the bench there, waving back to me. I like to think that you are watching me and that you hear me when I talk to you. I hope that you know how hard I have worked to honor your last request of me; to take care of that baby. I talk about you to him often. I miss you greatly. My heart still hurts when I think of that day. I feel a twinge of sadness during every momentous occasion that I wish you were attending. I just hope that I can make you proud. I pray to God every day that I will always make you proud and that one day, hopefully a very long time from now, I will get to hug you again, and you will get to meet my husband and my children. I love you, Grandpa.