I:
My father called me to tell me that my grandfather was very sick.  He’d been in the hospital, but it seemed to be worse than previously anticipated, so I piled into my car with the dog and drove to Florida.  When I got there, I was able to talk in doctor-speak to the doctors and translate for the non-doctors.  My grandfather was so happy to see me, and I was happy to be there when he was transitioned to a rehab facility.  In May, he came to my promotion ceremony and administered my oath — his face was full of pride as I stood there next to him in my uniform, a symbol of our shared commitment and service.

II:
My father called to tell me that my grandfather was very sick, in fact even worse off than we had feared, and was being put into hospice right away.  I piled into my car with the dog and drove to Florida.  I got there in time to see him one last time and tell him I love him, I’m proud of him, and that I hope he’s proud of me, too.  I brought with me a copy of the captain’s oath, and with the help of a relative, he was able to go through it with me right there in his hospital room.  It’s not official, but it means so much to me that he was able to do it before we had to say goodbye. I was there when we all told him it was okay, that he could go and be with my grandmother now, and I was there when he finally did so, peacefully and surrounded by love.

III:
My father called to tell me that my grandfather was gravely ill and being moved into hospice as we spoke.  I piled into the car, but before I even left home, my father called me again to let me know he was gone.  I still took the dog, and we are still going to Florida.  I’m a little less clear on how this story ends, but I keep saying I’ll figure it out when I get there.

My grandfather died Saturday night, and as my sister said, the grief comes in waves.  These are the stories I have been telling myself since the first phone call on Friday — only one of them reflects the actual course of events, but I like to think that in some way, all of them are true.

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