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July 11, 2008

Trip to Hawaii - Day 8

July 11
Friday PM.
Grandpa passed away this morning. 12:05 a.m. in the presence of his family.
I am sad. But it is as if Grandpa prepared us for this.
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I got an unexpected phone call from US Airways yesterday afternoon around 3:00pm. I was told my flight out of Phoenix was delayed and that I was not going to leave Honolulu until midnight. Okay. No big deal. I just had to stay a little later than expected.
I called hubby to let him know and he suggested I leave Friday night instead of Thursday night. Since I got his okay, I called US Airways again when I got to Kalihi. US Airways told me that I had to pay a change fee and then the difference in airfare to fly on Friday night, which came out to approximately $800. Forget it.
At about 7:00, I thought I would try one more time to call US Airways to see if I could wangle staying in Hawaii one more night, maybe given the circumstances, maybe a grievance exception, or something. I only gave the customer service rep my name and flight number when she told me that my flight was delayed until 4:00 am. Hmmm... She said my flight out of Honolulu would have just missed my connecting flight in Phoenix and that I would have a 4 hour layover in Phoenix. I told her that given the circumstances, I would rather be layed over in Honolulu than in Phoenix. I asked her if it was possible for me to move my flight out of Honolulu to Friday night along with the connecting flights. She told me "Yes" and at NO CHARGE. I had to ask why there was a delay. The customer service rep told me there was monsoon weather in Phoenix that delayed all the flights out of there.
I think Someone was keeping me in Honolulu last night.
June is supposed to fly in tonight and Jerry to arrive tomorrow morning. I wondered if the monsoons delayed their flights too.
Grandma, Shirley, Anna, and I spent the whole evening by Grandpa's side -- observing him, massaging him, combing his hair, talking to him -- from 6:00pm -11:00 pm or so. Robert called Jessie on the cell phone and I brought the phone to Grandpa so he could hear Robert. Grandpa made noises to acknowledge what Robert was saying. That was good. After a short while, Robert was sobbing too much to continue and he said he had to go.
Late in the evening, Jay and his son Jonah came in, and we told them to reminisce with us any stories they could remember with Grandpa. Jay mentioned the time they went hunting and the pig bit Grandpa's hand when they thought it was dead. We asked Grandma to reminisce too. We asked Grandpa what song he used to serenade Grandma with before. Grandma laughed. Shirley asked Grandpa, "What did you give Grandma's parents so you could marry Grandma, Grandpa? Two carabaos?" We laughed. Grandma boldly said, "No carabaos -- LAND." Grandma went on to explain how Grandma and Grandpa got married. I also asked Grandma what Grandpa did during World War II. She said he was one of the "Bolomen" because he couldn't shoot a gun. She recalled a time when the Japanese soldiers came to their house while they were having dinner and Grandpa had to escape on a slide down the mountainside leaving Grandma and the children behind. If the Japanese caught Grandpa, they would have killed him for sure. Grandpa used to gather information on the Japanese in their region in the Philippines and pass the info to their other guerrilla counterparts who would in turn inform the Americans. Neat. I never knew that about Grandpa.
After our brief storytelling session, Grandma got up to use the bathroom. We all stood up to stretch when Shirley noticed that Grandpa's breathing had changed. It was shorter and more labored. His skin color was more paler. His legs had turned more purple and felt cold to the touch, as if there was little or no circulation in his legs. He hadn't closed his eyes for several hours, so we had been putting eye drops to keep them moist. Shirley told me, "Jane, go outside and get the guys, I think it's soon." My mom came in the room as I ran outside. I only saw Jed on the street talking to the neighbor and I called for him. We both ran inside. My Mom was sobbing over Grandpa telling him in Ilokano, "I'm sorry, Papa. I love you." I had to take my mom and seat her at Grandpa's bedside. Grandma was beside Grandpa too. Jess, Shirley, Jed, Uncle Ted, Auntie Norma, Auntie Linda, and all Jessie's kids were all beside him. I saw him take his last breaths.
Then he was gone. 12:05 am Friday morning. Cenon Jesus Ramos Saribay, born April 20, 1921, 88 years old. Husband to Inocencia, father of four, grandfather of 10, great-grandfather of 30. We sobbed over him for a long while. It was as if time stopped. I have never seen any of my cousins cry before. Not like this.
I called my Dad and hubby. Brief calls. I don't even remember what I said.
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We waited up for June and Jerry to arrive. We told the hospice not to have Grandpa picked up until 6:00 am. June arrived at about 1:00 am and came straight to the house. Jerry arrived at 5:00 am and had the same reaction as June.
We thought we would be able to have a service for Grandpa as soon as possible, since everyone was already in Hawaii. Uncle Ted invited me, Shirley, and Grandpa Felino to meet with the mortuary services in Kaneohe. We discovered the soonest we could have the service and burial was in August. That's way too long to wait to bury Grandpa, in my opinion. But what can we do?
I don't think I will be able to make it to the services in August. I don't think hubby wants me to go again. I asked my father-in-law if he knew anyone with a recording studio. I wanted to sing a song for the services, especially since I don't think I would be able to make it out here again. My father-in-law is amazing. He connected with some old friends who helped us out. Cora Aczon, an amazing pianist and all-around musician, helped us out too, with her accompaniments. (She is terrific!) We got together at St. Anthony's Church and rehearsed for 30 minutes. I decided to sing an Ilokano folk song, "Dikanton Malipatan" and "Wind Beneath my Wings." While I sang "Wind", I broke down and cried.
The recording session was a cool experience. I tried my best, really. I probably sounded like sh*t, because I was exhausted, having no sleep. But, the husband and wife team who helped us out were so gracious and patient with me. My eternal gratitude to them all. Thank you so much!
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I'm at the airport. It's late. I've had no sleep yet since Wednesday night. I was meant to be here. It was not coincidence my plane was delayed. I don't believe that.

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