My Grandpa is in the hospital again.
I went to see him and wasn’t allowed to get close to him due to a staph infection. That’s not the reason for his hospitalization, retention of fluid and difficulty breathing are.
It was painful to see him so swollen, barely able to talk. It was more painful to have to stand at the foot of his bed and not be able to hug him or hold his hand.
No matter how sick he gets, he never loses his sense of humor. He could barely talk, barely catch his breath, barely keep his eyes open and yet he managed to still make me laugh with his wicked, kind of perverted sense of humor.
That’s probably what I love about him the most. He’s always been funny. Always. And he continues to be funny even though his body is failing him ever so slowly.
As much as he made me laugh when I went to visit, he also broke my heart in a way that I’ve never experience before.
I had brought my children with me so that they could see him, but when we got to the Veterans Hospital, they told me that he had just been put in the isolation unit due to the staph infection and that the children would not be allowed to see him. Each one of them was upset because they love him and wanted to see him. Tony went to see him first. I waited downstairs with the kids. As we waited, Gabbers took out her spiral notebook and began to draw. When she was finished, she handed it to me and said “Give this to Opa from me, ok?” I folded it up, put it in my pocket and promised to give it to him.
I had every intention on giving him the picture as soon as I walked into his room, but when I saw him for the first time, I was stunned by his size (he’s gained over almost 30 pounds recently due to fluid retention) and forgot about the picture. However, as soon as he asked about the kids, I remembered and pulled it out of my pocket.
“They’re doing really good, Grandpa. They love you very much and are really sad that they couldn’t come up to see you. Gabby wanted me to give you this picture so you know she’s thinking of you!”
I handed it to my Grandma so that she could give it to him.
“He won’t be able to see it, Y.” She said. “He can’t see things anymore.”
I know he’s been losing his eyesight gradually, but this is the first time that it was presented to me in such a real way. This is the first time that I’ve given my grandparents a picture of (or from) one of my children and my grandmother didn’t pass the picture to him and say “look, Ray!”
I can’t put into words how deeply this affected me.
My Grandpa can no longer see.
I saw a sadness come over his face. I thought of how awful he must have felt in that moment. To know that his great granddaughter had made a picture for him and he couldn’t see it. I thought of the pictures that I send in the mail of the kids and how he can’t see them anymore. I thought of how much he loved to play cards and how he can’t play anymore because he can’t see.
Every time I think back to that moment, I want to cry.
And sometimes? I do cry.
But then… then I think of the way he laughed while I was there with him. How, in spite of how sick he is, he was still smiling. Still trying to make me laugh. I take comfort in that because even though his physical body is failing him, at the core of his being he’s still happy. Happy because he’s had a good life
And I’ve been blessed beyond measure to have been a part of that life.
I just received a comment that is so beautiful and expresses exactly how I feel so wonderfully, that I wanted to put it here with my post so that no one who reads this misses it. Thank you, Bridge
My great grandmother has lost her sight…and she’s a little forgetful.
But there is something so reassuring and inspiring about a well-lived life,
even housed in an imperfect and aging body. I want to be like her when I’m
a hundred…to have a soul so wise and beautiful that falling apart on the
outside is just secondary to who I am.