Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rest In Peace Chuck Strauss aka Grandpap

So Kelly and I headed from the lake into Pittsburgh to be with my grandpap yesterday. It worked out amazingly well because we had Kelly's parents in town so they were able to babysit Aidan and Ashley all day.

We arrived around 10 am and right when I walked in, the first thing he said to me was "white russian". It was awesome. So Sue and Kelly headed out to the local bar to pick up some white russians for us to sip. They brought some back and we all raised a glass and toasted grandpap. For me, it was by far the hardest part of the day seeing him in his condition, looking at him in the eye and knowing this could be the last toast we'll ever raise together.

We then proceeded to sit around and tell stories. Grandpap faded in an out of focus. A lot. He wasn't breathing well. It sounded like he was breathing through water but he didn't want people to leave. He wanted his last party. I dealt a few hands of poker for him and he watched as we "played each other". We showed pictures. He wanted to hear irish music and wanted someone to sing to him. One of the nurses found a cd player and a cd of 25 irish hits and we listened to it on repeat the entire day. He breathlessly requested songs so we all sang together. He mustered up the strength to tell us some stories which was amazing because color rushed to his face and he propped up a bit. Where he found this energy, enough to even raise his voice, had us all completely awestruck.

We had to leave around 7pm and we told him how much we loved him and gave him some hugs and kisses. You could tell he was grateful and then he mustered up the strength to motion to Kelly to come near and he gave her a kiss. It was really sweet.

Below is a picture from July 10th of last year up at the lake.

Grandpap, you will be missed. Hopefully you are having a white russian, eating "Mike Ryan's lobster" (said this was what they will serve in heaven) and most of all catching up with Aunt Ruthann and Uncle Chuck.

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