Last week my husband Vic and I flew up to Iowa to visit my parents. We needed this vacation, and were excited about seeing my family again. People in Florida often ask me what we do when we go to Iowa--no doubt they imagine cow-tipping and other stereotypical pastimes. And NO, I have never in my life tipped a cow! In any case, we go to Iowa to relax, so we spend most of our time sitting around and visiting. It may sound boring, but we always have a lovely time. This time we got to see my brother and his entire family, as well as an aunt I hadn't seen in 11 years, so it was pretty neat.
Unfortunately, this particular trip was cut short by a day, as we received some very bad news from Florida. Vic's grandmother, a lovely woman named Ofelia, passed away. This was a nasty shock, as you can imagine. She had been in the hospital while we were gone, due to a cold, swollen, painful foot. Obviously a circulatory issue, though we were (and still are) unsure as to the underlying cause. Vic was on the phone with his family every day to get updates on her condition, and as far as we could tell, the worst-case scenario would be amputation. Now, she was 86 years old, so that would've been hard on her and possibly the beginning of a decline, but we certainly did not expect her to die. The day before she died, the doctors were even discussing discharging her. Of course, the doctors and the quality of their medical care is a whole other angry story that I won't be posting, in case legal action is taken.
So, Sunday night, Vic got the call. I was outside talking to some friends until my mom came and told me I was needed in the house. When I came in, Vic was sitting at the table. He just looked up at me and told me she had passed. The look of anguish on his face...oh my god...it just broke my heart. Completely wrung it out...and that image has been haunting me all week. I can't get it out of my head. It makes me cry every time. I wish I could erase that memory instead of seeing it over and over in an exhausting mental loop.
Vic, naturally, cried himself that evening. I have never seen him cry before. He's held it together ever since, and truth be told, seems to be in better emotional shape than I am at the moment. How stupid is that? It's his grandmother, that he's known and loved all his life. I didn't even know his grandmother that well, as she spoke only Spanish and I know very little. But I have grieved for his grief and that of his family. Vic's mother and his grandfather have been the most visibly affected. I found out at the funeral that his grandparents had been married for 67 years--an amazingly long time, and I cannot imagine the loneliness his grandfather is feeling now. Vic told me later he was talking to his grandfather at the viewing and could see in his eyes just how lost he felt.
The viewing and funeral service was held in Miami on Wednesday. Nobody likes funerals, of course, but there is an undeniable feeling of closure afterwards. Not that we don't all still grieve, but it's a first step towards learning to adjust to life without the one we love.
Descanse en paz, Ofelia. Te extranaremos y estaras siempre en nuestros corazones.
The Great Hunt of 2018
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