I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to small group last night, but I did and I’m glad I did.  It helped me a lot.  I didn’t bring up the issue of Pap having just died because there was a new couple there and I wanted us to focus on getting to know them, but Mike and Sarah Nowak had already heard and I did talk it out some with Mike.

Amanda’s been great, of course.  We walked to the grocery store yesterday evening and I mostly just stewed in silence, but she was there for me.  While at the store I was finally able to muster up, “I don’t like missing the funeral.”  She said, “I know,” and gave me a kiss.  That was perfect.  It was no more and no less than what the exchange should have been.

At first I was upset with myself for not feeling more than I felt.  Amanda told me I shouldn’t feel bad about that, and since I’ve had some time for it to sink in, I don’t feel so little anymore.  Part of it was that we’ve known it’s been coming.  I mean, we’ve known it could happen soon for a long time, but more recently, in the past few weeks, we’ve known that my grandfather’s death was imminent.

I talked to two-thirds of my siblings (Adam and Erin) to see how they were doing.  I didn’t call Andra because she was calling Erin when I was talking to her.  I think they’re all planning on flying in to Lexington on Friday, which is when the viewing is, sticking around for the funeral on Saturday, then variously flying back to RDU or riding with Mom and Dad.  Mom’s flying up Friday then definitely riding back with Dad.

And now we get to the hardest part in all this for me.  I’ve got all kinds of feelings and emotions about it, so I’m just going to lay it all out.

There are a few things that keep going through my mind.  I picture Pap waving the way he always did.  I’m a little jealous of my nephew, Jackson, in that, while he’s probably too young to remember much about Pap, he’s at least got pictures with him and he receiving blessings from Pap, and Milly will have missed that opportunity by such a slim margin.  Of course, Addison, Jackson’s sister, missed out on meeting him too.

We would usually play Uno when we went to Kentucky, and, though I don’t think he did it last time we were there, when Pap would change the color to blue, he would sing Am I Blue as he’d lay down his card.  He would always accuse winners of cheating, too, then go and cheat himself.  Amanda’s convinced he actually thought she’d cheat.

But what I’m thinking about the most is that I’m the first grandchild (Pap always called me “Numero Uno”) and I won’t be able to go to the funeral.  I assume I’d have been a pall bearer, just as I was for Mum Mum and Pup Pup, and, when the time comes, likely will be for Baba.  So I won’t be able to pay this respect to Pap.  And I know he’d understand and would probably tell me I’m doing the right thing staying in North Carolina for the birth of my first child, but it’s still hard.

I struggled with the decision a couple weeks ago when my dad first told me that Pap didn’t have much time, but between searching myself and getting council (most greatly from my parents), I made the decision.  Facing the hypothetical situation is very different from facing the reality though, and it’s eating me up.  I wouldn’t miss Milly’s birth for anything, and this proves it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tough.

I really hope she’s born by Saturday.

You know what, I’m not even sure I fully mean that.  If she’s born between today and tomorrow (which I’m not thinking it very likely) everyone in my family except my dad could conceivable be here.  If she’s born Sunday or later I’m going to be even more upset that I didn’t go to Kentucky, but at least my whole family could be here.

I should expand on the part about being more upset about not going to Kentucky if Milly’s not here over the weekend.  I know that nobody knows for sure when she’s coming and I know I can’t take a chance that she might not get here this weekend.

I just hate the fact that the entirety of the Pap’s line will be there, even Tom and Jamie and their kids from Washington State, but I won’t be, plus there will probably be distant cousins, great-aunts and -uncles, everyone but me.  They’ll be talking about Pap and sharing stories and memories.

I know nobody’s going to think anything bad of me for it, I’m not worried about that.  Dad told me that Baba said she completely understands and that I’m doing what I should be doing, and if anybody feels different then that’s their problem.

I just got off the phone with my mom, and she said that in her mind there’s not even an option.  She said going through the birth and being there when Milly comes, that’s my family and that’s when the family bond is formed.  Thanks for that, Mom.  You’re good at making me feel better about this.

At the same time, she said that she feels bad about not being there for the birth of her granddaughter and would love for Milly to wait until everyone got back to North Carolina.  She asked me to say something to make her not feel bad, and so I told her what I told my dad- that they’d have the rest of their lives to know her and just this one chance to see Pap off.

When I talked to her, my mom gave me a little more detail about Pap’s passing.  She said that Baba, Dad and Uncle Steve were there with him.  The nurses came in to turn him, and when they left Dad noticed that his breathing was different, more of a gurgle, and that was pretty much it, so he went peacefully.  I asked if Pap had been cognizant since Dad had gotten there and she said he hadn’t woken up and said anything when he was there.  The last thing she knew of was over the weekend when he woke up and said he’d really like an apple.

Mom told me yesterday to focus on the positive.  By that I’m pretty sure she meant that I shouldn’t be thinking about how crappy I feel about not being around to see off my grandfather, but I should concntrate on how happy and excited I’ll be when Milly arrives.  That’s good advice, and I think once the time gets here that’ll automatically take over.

Speaking of that, Amanda had a baby doctor appointment this morning.  The doctor said everything was looking fine and Amanda’s now two centimeters dilated.  They set up another appointment for next week just in case, but he said he really doubted she’d make it to that one.  If she does they’ll do an ultrasound and start talking about inducing, so I’d go to that one.

Nick Warkentien texted me a few minutes ago and asked if I’d like to get lunch.  That’ll be nice.  I’ll probably do that while I’m out picking up my check.  (It’s payday.)

Well, enough rambling on with my thoughts and feelings this morning.  I’ve gotten condolences from a lot of people, and I sincerely appreciate everyone whose thoughts and prayers are with me and my family right now.

Zach Dotsey