Thursday morning was a beautiful sunrise. Light pink and deep grey and gold.
Then around 11 o’clock Thursday morning we got the call. Matt’s grandfather, Grandpo, was on likely in his final hours after a quick decline in the hospital. As fate would have it, it was a day I drove to work instead of taking the bus. I was in an all-day training in Bellevue but picked up the phone when Matt called. He asked if I wanted to go to Tacoma that night to see Grandpo. I asked him if he just wanted to go now. Yes.
I grabbed my keys and drove across the city, thankful that we were between rush hour traffic. We drove to Tacoma, found the hospital and went straight to his room where my in-laws were waiting for us.
We could tell it was close. Breathing was hard and he had not opened his eyes all day, but we were confident that he could hear us. Matt and I spent 20 minutes alone with him, holding his hands and telling him our favorite memories, about my recent graduation, about our plans for the future, and thanking him for being such a pillar of Matt’s life.
And then there wasn’t much more to say. Matt’s mom came back in and he took his last breath with us holding his hands. I believe that he had been waiting for Matt to say goodbye.
Our sweet, feisty Grandpo Fiore passed away peacefully, surrounded by love around 3 o’clock on Thursday, June 12, 2014.
We sat around sharing stories and memories; eventually sharing the news and making plans. We went back to Grandpo’s house with Matt’s parents to make calls and lock up the house. Then we went out to dinner at one of his go-to Italian places: Europa. We shared a good meal, and let the reality sink in with family around. That afternoon, between the grey clouds and blue sky appeared a brilliant rainbow behind his house. I don’t know exactly what I believe, but I like to think that it was from Grandpo.
It was an honor to get to know Grandpo these past 4 years. Matt and I have made a point to visit him every two weeks for dinner, to share great Italian food, stories and watch Jeopardy. It was an honor to have him visit our Vashon home last summer. He sure loved to remind us how much that visit meant to him. And coming to our wedding. We loved to hear stories about his wife and true love, Elaine. He introduced me to anchovies. And really good wine. And cheese pastries from New York. And so much love.
Oh Grandpo, we will miss you. We know you and Elaine are dancing together again.