This is one of those, “I tell you this story to get to another” kind of things.

(again, this could be titled Hey look, Dawn’s talkin’ about death again!)

no no… come back… come back!

Okay. Here we go.

I was a grandpa’s girl. From the time I was born until he died – grandpa’s girl. Which was fitting as my mom was his girl as well.

His body gave out long before his mind. At the time, I thought it was cruel. Now I know better because I watched my Grandma’s mind waste away before her body. Talk about cruel.

The week before he died, my mom stayed with him a day. She told him if he was tired, that it would be okay. She told him we’d understand. That he didn’t have to wait for me to graduate. If he was done, he could be done.

He went into the hospital, we saw him Easter Sunday, he didn’t feel good, when we left, he told me not to get close because he didn’t want me to get sick. So I left without hugging him.

Then at 455am we got a phone call. ICU. No life support. Could be hours or days.

We drove the 30 minutes to the hospital, we got stopped at the light, it started to rain.

I knew he was gone.

And I was right.

We stood by his bed in the ICU. Me. Mom. Grandma. Three generations. Grandma had been with him when he died. We walked out. Grandma said to me, “You were his idol.” I walked behind the curtain to see him again. The machines still hissing. His blue eyes still open halfway.

I touched his hand. Cold. Even though only minutes had passed. I touched his hair. It still felt like him.

Just as I began to feel the hysterical bubbles of panicked terror of losing him, feel it rising in my chest … I stopped.

I felt this peace. Then I felt this … this tingle … this awareness … along my spine, wrapping me in a final hug. It held for a moment, then pulled away and off through the upper left corner of the room.

He was gone. He’d said goodbye.