“I know that I love you.”

Pop was diagnosed with lung cancer after I gave him a heart attack.

Seriously.

I was in town for a work trip and decided it would be a brilliant idea to pop in and surprise my grandparents, unannounced. There’s a reason they say not to surprise the elderly–this is it.

Yes, they were glad to see me…so much so that Pop was sent to the ER for cardiac arrest a few hours later.

My family consoles me with the fact that if he hadn’t gone into the hospital that afternoon, it would have taken everyone a lot longer to figure out that he had cancer. To this day it doesn’t make me feel better–but I appreciate the sentiment.

Anyway. Watching my grandfather slip away was a first for me, and beyond difficult. But this is also one of my favorite stories. One that’s etched in my mind and heart and smile.

—-

It was three days before Pop passed. He was on so much morphine he was barely conscious. If you were lucky, you could catch a glimpse of him for a few moments at a time–when his sweet spirit broke out of the sickness to remind you of love, of joy, of the spitfire.

On that third day, we were all gathered in the hospital room. White room, white sheets, white noise. Gam sat closest to his bed, holding his hand.

“Pop,” she whispered–half sarcastically to conceal the hurt–“Do you even know who I am?”

I remember waiting for an answer. Seeing his face blank and pale and searching for a few seconds before shaking out a pained and embarrassed ‘no.’

Then, the words: “I know that I love you.”

Enough said. Never more perfectly stated. 64 years proven.

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