Yesterday before I went plummeting down the stairs I had what I thought was a beautiful post started about Darryl, Dave’s Dad. Darryl’s funeral and birthday were both a year ago yesterday (December 1). Happy Birthday Grandpa! I had lovely things to say and had been thinking about them on my way to and from the school to pick up Eli. Eli and I walked into the house as I was walking up our stairs, I tripped, consequently slipping and then dropping straight down on my left knee while facing towards the stairs. I happened to be holding a drink in my hand and in a bold effort I did what I could to save my ice tea. You can either cheer for my brilliant save or boo for my silly attempt, because in an effort to save my drink, my left knee cap slammed right into the stair, taking the full brunt of the fall. Eli watched in horror as I screamed, “DAMN IT! (and maybe something a little stronger),” while I, stunned and immobile, continued my death grip on the ice tea. Frantically trying to figure out what to do, Eli ran past me and pleaded, “Mom, are you ok? I am going to call dad!” He picked up the phone, dialed Dave’s number and as I stood still immobile I heard Eli say, “Dad! Dad! You need to come home now! Mom is hurt!” In that moment, my extreme pride completely overrode the intense pain. Go Eli!
Somehow and quickly I pulled myself together. Eli took the drink from my clutches and helped me up the stairs. I thought I would be fine. I am not fine. Turns out 24 hours later and lots and lots of and knee pain and RICE (rest, ice, compression & elevation), I have decided to suck it up and have it checked. Moments from now I will do just that. I will keep you posted.
In the meantime I really want to finish what I started before that whole fall-down-the-stairs-landing-on-my-knee-cap-and-not-dropping-my-drink thing happened. . .
Yesterday, on the one year anniversary of his funeral, I had Grandpa on my mind. See, earlier in the day I met a friend for lunch. I was not in the mood for lunch and because this is a friend I am just getting to know, I was not sure how to cancel. Dave encouraged me to suck it up so I went. Once there, we ordered. In line my friend asked so I explained my crazy food allergies, then the Cafe Rio guys did their usual and hilarious comeback to my request for “no cheese,” and all shouted, “Extra cheese,” she paid, we filled up our drinks (foreshadowing to my knee injury) and we sat down. As conversations often do, one topic led to another and then I found myself crying, which I rarely do these days, right in the middle of the Park City Cafe Rio. As I told my friend about December 1, 2010, I filled with buckets of love for Grandpa and then I thought about Kyle.
Dave’s dad had been in poor health for years. When Kyle was first diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, Darryl was on his last legs. It was around Thanksgiving 2010. Kyle had been in then out and then back in the hospital for the past month. Dave’s brother, Uncle Denny, was staying in Maryland with Grandpa while Dave’s mom was away visiting her ailing sister. As weak as Grandpa was, he was also very aware and very concerned about Kyle. During his two stays at Primary Children’s Hospital, Kyle often mentioned Grandpa and would say things like, “Mom, you know I was thinking. Grandpa really understands what I am going through. I think I am starting to understand what he is going through too. I feel sad that he is so sick. I remember playing games with Grandpa. Being sick is not fun.”
During our long days and even longer nights, Grandpa easily became Kyle’s long distant and most comforting Teddy Bear. Just knowing that Grandpa understood helped Kyle feel like he was not alone. At the end of our frequent Grandpa conversations, Kyle would often say a simple, “I love you Grandpa.”
After a seemingly successful 3-day treatment of IVIG, Kyle was finally allowed to go home. We called Uncle Denny so he could share the good news with Grandpa. Just about thirty-six hours after Kyle came home, Grandpa passed away. My boys loved their Grandpa and we knew we all had to be in Washington DC. Kyle was still very ill and so extremely fragile. The effects of his illness, the medications and the steroids, specifically, were terrible and completely changed who he was inside and out. We thought about leaving him home, but because we were completely terrified to leave him out of our sight, we crossed our fingers and boarded a plane.
Kyle is the oldest grandson and wanted to say something at Grandpa’s funeral. “There was not a dry eye in the chapel, ” I continued to tell my friend, “Kyle had only been out of the hospital for a week when he spoke. He wore a hat to protect his misshapen face. His eyes were still so red and he was so pale. (He was very uncomfortable being around people and uncomfortable having his picture taken.) He was brave, tender and you could feel Kyle pulling Grandpa right into the room. The gift Kyle’s sweet, tender and vulnerable disposition gave us was that were all able to feel that sweet and tender love for Dave’s dad. And when I say people were crying, I mean, many of us, with tear soaked faces were hyperventilating. I was breathless as I watched Kyle speak. It was otherworldly” I knew my friend got it and I had to stop talking so once again, I could catch my breath.
. . .Tonight as I finally finish this post, I found Kyle’s talk.
Here is what he said:
Happy Birthday Grandpa!
Hello. I am Kyle Adams. I am the oldest Grandchild of Darryl and DeAnne Adams. My family currently lives in Park City, UT. Today I am speaking on behalf of Grandpa’s seven grandchildren.
Eli is my brother. James, Thomas and Sage, belong to Denny and Jaqui and Andrew and Nathan belong to Dori and Jeremiah.
This morning at breakfast I reminded everyone that today is Grandpa’s Birthday. My brother Eli suggested we all sing him Happy Birthday so we did. I am sure Grandpa was there listening.
Just over a week ago I was released from Primary Children’s Medical Center. I have something called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which is where your body has a reaction usually to medication and then attacks all of its mucous membranes and sometimes skin. I was in the hospital for a almost a month. I am still recovering. In the hospital I was scared and I was in a lot of pain. Often when I was really struggling I would tell my mom that I know Grandpa understands how I am feeling.
Grandpa died less than two days after I was released from the hospital. I think he stayed alive to know I was ok. My Uncle Denny, who was with Grandpa before he died told my mom that Grandpa knew I had been so sick and also knew that I was getting better. I was so happy that he knew I was ok before he died.
Often this past month when I have been sad or in a lot of pain I say prayers asking Heavenly Father to send messages to Grandpa asking him to let Grandpa know we love him and we are thinking of him.
At breakfast this morning I asked my cousins and my brother if they had messages for grandpa or memories of him. James told me how much he loves Grandpa and that he misses him. My brother, Eli, always being silly said, “Grandpa always made the best snacks.” Tommy, age 3, said, “Hi Grandpa.”
I remember going on walks with Grandpa. I remember when he took me, my brother and dad fishing. We spent most of the time catching worms, which was a blast. I loved just hanging out with Grandpa and playing board games with him. He was tough competitor. I remember the last time I saw him I knew that I would probably not see him again so I gave him a lot of extra hugs. My parents tried getting me into the car because we needed to get to the airport and I just could not stop hugging Grandpa.
I love you Grandpa!