Papaw is dying
This is Troy. I’m writing this while Rosie is at the hospital getting chemo treatment #5.
I just talked to my Mom and they are releasing Russ today, basically so he can go home and die. He’s not eating or drinking (for 2 days now) and the nurses say that is a common sign that he’s slipping away. They said it’s actually a nice way to go because it’s usually accompanied by a sense of euphoria and very little pain.
So I told Colleen that we don’t have much time left with Papaw. She started crying and said she doesn’t want him to die because she likes being his “Cracker Jack.” He has always told her that she was his Cracker Jack. I don’t totally get what it means, but it’s their special “thing.” So I told her that she will always be his Cracker Jack, even after he dies, as long as she remembers him. After people die, we still remember them and love them and miss them, we just don’t get to spend time with them or talk to them anymore. She felt better about that, but then she said she doesn’t want him to die because she wants to talk to him. I told her that he is very sick and probably won’t ever get better, so the longer he lives the sicker he will get and the worse he will feel. Sometimes it’s better for a person to die so they won’t be sick anymore. And I told her that we don’t get to keep people forever, just for a while, like the library books she checked out. You get to keep them for a while and then you have to give them back. She said that library books can be renewed and take them out again. That made me regret the library books metaphor, but then she said, “You can’t check out Papaw again.” That made me laugh and cry at the same time (which is a weird feeling… I don’t recommend it.) So, I think she kinda gets it… or at least as much as you can at 5.
I had her write a letter to him. I helped her with the words a little but she wrote out all of it herself. He’s what she wrote:
“DEAR PAPAW I LOVE YOU I WILL ALWAYS BE YOUR CRACKER JACK AS LONG AS I LIVE LOVE COLLEEN MAYNARD”
She also drew a lot of pictures of cars and trucks driving on the street and me holding her hand crossing the street. On the back she drew the planet Earth and the sun and three moons with her and Mommy holding hands standing on the Earth. They both have long hair and Colleen informed the picture was from before Mommy had breast cancer. I’m sure Russ will love the letter and the pictures.
We’ll mail the letter tonight. Colleen appears to have totally moved on and is jumping around and playing like normal. I, however, can’t seem to stop crying. But that’s good. I need to cry a little.