My grandmother died back in May of kidney failure. When her one remaining kidney failed she refused dialasis because she said that she had lived a good long life (90 yrs) so she decied that it wasnt going to get better so she decided just to let life take its course. With work and lack of finance I didnt get a chance to see her (and I have a really hard time with rest homes) and by the time I got the courage to call her, she was too far gone to speak coherently or understand much of what was being said. Most of the time I try not to think about it, but when I do and think about what kind of role I played as her grandson. how seldomly I saw her during those last few years, and how I handled her last few days I cant help but feel like I failed as a grandson and as a man. Honestly I dont know what I'm looking for by writing this, I suppose I'm looking for support, or looking for ways that you guys have dealt with it in your lives or maybe I'm just looking for a way to relieve some stress. But either way, thanks for listening.
I have a much similar feeling, Dave, in regards to my grandmother. There were many opportunities during college for me to even call, much less visit. Instead I was off doing various things that I now realize as much less important. Unfortunately, I don't think that feeling ever goes away, but only dims. The best you can do now is wish her forgiveness, and to learn from the experience.
I lost 3 of my 4 grandparents by my mid-teens. The hardest was my dad's father, since I was closest to him. I was 15, spending the summer in Nebraska with him and my grandma (now my only surviving grandparent) while he was at home in hospice care, dying of lung cancer. The preceding couple of summers, I had spent almost every day with him, painting the house, fixing things, working on crossword puzzles, watching Leno over a can of Old Milwaukee and a cigarette (OK, the beer and smokes were only on his side).
After his death, I had a huge void in my life. Grandpa wasn't going to be around to teach me things, to give me advice, to see his great-grandkids. You know what else? Even with all the time that I'd spent with him, I had regrets. Why hadn't I listened to him more? Why hadn't I realized the wealth of experiences that he held in his head, having lived through the Great Depression and World War II? Was he proud of the 15-year-old upstart he'd seen before him? Would he be proud of me now?
I guess what I'm getting at is that every death of someone close to you will leave you with some regrets. You have to realize that there's nothing you can do about the past, but you can live for the future. Be the best son, grandson, brother, husband, boyfriend, uncle, etc that you can be to those who are still around. In my case, my grandfather's death was a wake-up call. Regardless of whether or not I'd done enough to make my grandfather proud before his death, I would do my best to be the kind of man that he had been, to live up to his example.