Little did I know that I would lose the best PawPaw I could have imagined. Surrounded by family in a stuffy, crammed hospital room. The sounds of beeps and tings echoed in the room while nurses rushed around. My pawpaw rested on the hard hospital bed with an oxygen mask on his face and IV’s in both pale, pasty arms; his daily attire was a wrinkled, navy hospital gown. He hadn’t opened his eyes for past two days, and it seemed unlikely if he would open his sky blue eyes that I inherited anymore. He resided in the hospital for thirty-seven troubling days, and little did we know, he only had one day left on this earth—one day. When the rest of the family made it to the hospital, all family members would have a moment with him to share their last words and moments they wanted to reminisce with him by their side. My mom and I sobbed, “We are next to talk to him.”
My mom and I went into the room together, side-by-side; my mom sat on the couch next to him. I stood on the other side of the bed. We shared our fondest memories with him, such as each night when he lived with my family and me, we would always recite “Goodnight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” We would always race to see who would say it first but also who could say the quote the fastest.
I had an imaginary tally board where I kept track of how many times I would blurt out “I beat you.” I kept track of the points like it was a rivalry game.
We reminisced about our good talks on the sandy, wooden swing and remained outside on the porch for several hours at a time, smiling so big my eyes closed while resting on my chubby cheeks, reddened from the sun. When lounging on the porch, my pawpaw solved his word search puzzles while we swung on the porch. We recollected how after swinging we meandered out to the garden together and ate freshly picked, crunchy tomatoes that crunched like potato chips. We praised him for everything that he had helped us with, such as when my sister had cancer. Each night when she needed to consume her medicine, it would be awful. Every night he persuaded her with five dollars, and she eventually purchased a trampoline with that money. We thanked him for everything he would encourage us with because he was always encouraging us to be the best we could be and to always be honest. We thanked him for the special years we had together.
I sobbed gently tears, which dripped onto my shirt as I muttered, “Thanks for being the best PawPaw that I could have ever imagined and for always being there when I needed a hand.”
When all of the family members finished going into the room and said their memories and thanked him for everything he did for us, he opened his eyes for the first time in two days, and it would be last time he would open his marble blue eyes. When he opened his eyes, my mom and I stood positioned beside him. I massaged his gray, brittle hair, while my mom held his wrinkly, frosty hands. My eyes swelled with tears, as my heart became shattered china. When he opened his eyes, he stared at my mom and me the whole time. He closed his eyes.
While crying, “We love you, PawPaw,” we reassured him. He did not say anything, but I knew that he had made his peace with everyone and was ready for the next step in his life.
Later in the night, the nurse calmly walked into the hospital room. Since the breathing monitor had indicated the nurses it had stopped, she checked the machine and calmly declared, “He just passed.” The family cried so much that we had no tears left inside of us.
That Monday night in the chaotic, crammed hospital room was one of hardest days of my life, but I am glad that I spent the final moments with my pawpaw his final night in the hospital but also on this earth. I am glad that I stayed there for the thirty-seven days of horrible, tiring hospital days and the night that he passed away in room 327 at Pikeville Medical Center.