Goodbye, Papi!

It’s 5:20 p.m. on Wednesday. Kelly called me downstairs, she said that Papa’s breathing was getting slower, and more labored. We knew the end was coming, but we had no idea of knowing when that end would be. I sat down with him, holding his hand, with my other hand on his wrist, seeking out his faint pulse. I was watching his chest slowly go up and down, his mouth open, breathing so peacefully. I couldn’t get a reading on the O2 finger reader, so I knew he was near the finish line. 

For some, when the loved one goes, they say they felt them actually leave their body. Others say they saw the spirit lift out their body, and float away. For me, it was just peaceful. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing else in the world mattered at that point in time, at 5:26 p.m. on August 5, 2020. I felt his pulse slowly stop, and his chest went up, and then down, and then it came to a rest. Afterwards, when asked about what it was like, the best way I could describe it (being a life-long mechanic), was to have a flashlight losing battery power, and the light just slowly fades, until there is just a faint glow from the bulb, and then, you blink, and the glow is gone, softly fading away from the image sitting at the back of your vision.

I held his hand for some more, waiting for a twitch, or a sudden burst of energy, or a sign of life, or movement, but I knew this was the end. For over three years, it was my honor to care for Papa (I started calling him Papi late last year), seven days a week, 24 hours a day with my wife. She lost her father, her mother’s husband of over 60 years, and I lost the man who gave me my wife, and my best friend.

I will miss you Papi, you were one of the hardest workers I knew, working for the Post Office for over 50 years, never once calling in sick in those 18,250 days, and always cheering, and swearing, at the LA Dodgers. It will be a while before the tears stop, and I know that there will be days when the tears start to hurt. But we will get through this, you made a strong family, a very proud family, and it has been an honor to have been a part of your long long life.

Gregg