Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Saying Goodbye

7 1/2 months ago, we lost my precious grandmother, Rae. She battled Alzheimer's for several years and it took its toll on her rather quickly, especially over the last few months of her life. She passed away peacefully in her sleep in their home. The past several months have been difficult, sad, and definitely an adjustment. Yesterday, we had to say goodbye to her loving husband, my amazing grandfather, Ralph Thomas Machen, Sr.(Hudson was named after him) This was something we were not at all prepared for. He held on for several months, spending time with friends, family, and his new great-grandson, Hudson. All of these things kept him going for a while, but his time came and he was ready to be home with his sweet wife.

It all began January 3rd when he passed out in his apartment. Over the almost month he was in the hospital, they discovered that his heart (which was bad to begin with...he had congestive heart failure) was not working properly. He kept having v-tach and had to have a pace-maker and artificial defibrillator inserted. This did not fix the problem, because he had several bad spots in his heart, which needed to be fixed with ablation. He ultimately ended up at UAB for this and they were uncertain if the procedure could be done due to his thin blood.(he was on blood thinners because he was prone to clots) He crashed early one morning last week and they really had no choice but to try it. The doctor was able to do a couple of spots before his heart started bleeding. Once they got this under control they stopped and this is where things went south. My parents were given a best-case scenario(he wakes up, gains consciousness, and starts improving) and a worse-case scenario. They said he followed the worst-case scenario to a T. He never fully regained consciousness, but he could respond to you with simple words, and his organs began shutting down, starting with his kidneys, which never had any output. His heart just gave out, and other things started to also. My parents were with him on Saturday, January 28th when he left this life and joined his wife and family who have gone before him. They were both holding his hands, telling him they love him, and he was able to look at my dad and tell him he loves him before he went. I am so glad they were there with him and he did not go alone. All I can think about is how I didn't get to see him one last time or say goodbye. That's made all of this even harder than it already is. See, Joseph, Hudson, and I were going down the next day to see him. The next day!!! If only we'd gone down that day. That's all I can think about. I know everything happens the way it's supposed to and for a reason, but what I wouldn't give to have been able to be there!

I miss him. I miss him so much it hurts and I want him back. I want to talk to him, hear him tell jokes, sing all of his favorite songs to Hudson. The past two days have been the hardest so far. There have been a lot of breakdowns and I'm sure they're not over. Something about getting home, without my family around me anymore just sent me over the edge last night and I wasn't sure the breakdowns would ever stop. I just kept having to think about the good times and the fact that we will be reunited again someday. And although I know I'll see him again one day, and it's selfish of me to want him back here when he's in such a beautiful place now, I do. I can't help but want him back. I know he knew I loved him, but I need to tell him one last time. I need more time with him. I can't imagine a world without my beloved Fatdaddy in it, and I'm not sure how we'll make it without him here. This man taught me so much. I have SO many incredible memories to hold onto. The fondest memories I have of him include the many, many days we spent fishing when they lived on the river, he taught me how to cast the line, be patient and quiet, and when you feel the first little tug be ready to reel in! He didn't teach me to bait my hook, though....that was one thing I would never do. It grossed me out too much...still does to this day. But he didn't mind doing that part for me. He was a good baiter. When we were done fishing, we'd bring the fish back to the house and I'd sit on the ledge outside and watch as he scaled them. I thought it was pretty cool to watch, although I'd never do it, nor would he have let me handle that knife anyway. We always had great conversations out there together. He was always teaching me something. And if there's anybody in the world to learn from, he's the man. He was the smartest, most eloquent person I've ever known. He loved learning. Even at 88 years old, he was always striving to learn something new. He loved people and never met a stranger. And he loved to laugh and make others laugh. If you were around him, you were laughing. I find myself thinking back to times of laughter (which were a LOT) when I feel like breaking down.
Another favorite memory is a more recent one. I will never forget how his face lit up every time he saw his precious he loved to hold him, sing to him, see him smile, and listen to his "talking". I am so incredibly thankful that he got to know and love Hudson, and boy did he love him! He talked about him all the time, from what I hear. I was so hoping they'd have a few more years together, but I am grateful for the time they did have. I have so many awesome stories to tell Hudson one day.

Here's an example of the sweetness of which I speak....

I can hear him singing that song up there right now.

My Fatdaddy was an incredible man and I am so blessed to have known and loved him. My dad gave his eulogy yesterday and did an amazing job. It was one that I know would have made his father proud and was just what he wanted. It has been devastating for him to lose both of his parents in such a short time, but he knows they are together again and that makes him smile.

This last picture is how I want to remember him....holding the great-grandson he came to love so much, in such a short amount of time. I miss this man so much, but I know one day I'll see him again. Until then, I'll hold on to the sweet memories.

I love you so much, Fatdaddy, and I will see you again!! Give RaeRae a big hug and kiss for me!


  1. This brought a tremendous amount of tears to my eyes. You couldn't have done a better job writing this. Beautiful!

  2. Ok I have had a lot of water coming out of my eyes. This was so sweet, you know fatdaddy an Paw Paw are a great reunion.

  3. I had tears flowing as I typed it, but it was good to get all of that out. I just had to write from the heart, even though it hurt. I'd give anything to have him back, but I know he wouldn't want to come back to this after he's experience what's beyond. He, Rae Rae and Uncle Sonny are definitely having a huge party!


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