Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Where have I been???

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Things are a bit... umm... unpredictable around here at the moment. I think I've posted about this before, but my grandfather is in increasingly failing health. He has endstage congestive heart failure, and we've had him at a hospice facility for the last several months where he has received the most awesomest care. After having dealt with his various hospital stays earlier this year, all I can say is that this place is literally like an oasis.

Things have progressed along to the point that it is very near to the end now. I've started daily visits up to the hospice, with Liv in tow each time. Needless to say, it's draining much of my attention and emotion right now. I can tell it's getting to be a drag for Liv as she's only 4 and though the room is private and has ample sitting room, it's still a place where she has to be relatively quiet and where the world revolves around someone other than her for a change.

Up until this point, I've never dealt with death in my own family before. Friends have passed. Relatives of friends have passed. I've certainly mourned these losses, but it's kind of been an after-the-fact thing. I've never really watched the process so up close and personal before. It's odd that what you expect the process to be like is very little like what it is in reality.

Take tonight, for instance. We're all sitting around in the room - me, Liv, Tony, my sister & her husband, my mother, my grandmother, and my uncle. My sister, brother-in-law, and I are standing around my grandfather's bed while the others are scattered in various chairs around the room. While my grandfather is trying to impart religious conversion to the three of su (BIL, my sister, and I), my mother is cuddled on the little couch reading "Pinkalicious" to Liv, and my uncle is sitting in a side chair doing the crossword puzzle. In between my grandfather's admonitions I hear bits and pieces of Liv's story mixed in with calls for assistance with crossword clues. Tony is lounged in the window seat reading some geeky fantasy novel. We were a happy, almost lively bunch. We'd had many a same scene around a Thanksgiving table or a family dinner.

From the outside, the process seems so somber, so grave (no pun intended). But what I'm finding is that it's just like the rest of life - parts are painful, parts are happy, parts are tired, parts are funny. Being a perpetually awkward and tongue tied individual, I have dreaded these days, when I'd have to come up with just the right thing to say or just the right way to act. Those words and actions never seem to come to me. Strangely, though, there's little pressure about that. It's not words that he needs, it's comfort. And that's easily given by standing by a bed and holding a hand. I'm finding that I'm learning to know my grandfather (and my whole family) in a new light.

Sorry for the long post; I guess I just kind of needed to unload some things. If you've read down this far, thank you for lending a kind ear (or set of eyes, I guess is more accurate).

I promise my next post will be about something crafty!

9 comments:

ElegantSnobbery said...

I never know what to say.. but I can certainly give {{{hugs}}} and hope that you can all spend quite a lot more time than you all expect to spend. My own grandfather has been battling various forms of cancer for the last 10 years and things are finally bad enough that we talk about our last family vacations with him, our last summer with him, our last Christmas... and its just so weird. I've never lost a family member either... I've never actually lost anyone for that matter... and it is a lot to deal with!

I'm glad you bring Liv along. She will remember it, and it will be important to her as she grows up.

Good luck with everything! And on a brighter note, I'm finishing up your secret project as I type! Get ready for a nice surprise!

ScrapbookDBA said...

Anne -
My heart aches for you. There are no words of comfort to say at this point excpet to say ... we are here for you. If you need anything ... don't hesitate to call! Perhaps a great margarita night would be a nice diversion?

Take care,
Kimberly

Denise Felton said...

I hope you know that I'm always there, right by your side, even if my body is somewhere else. I am so impressed by how your family has worked together to support your grandfather and surround him with love. Annie, not all families are like that; yours is special. I guess that's because your family is made up of such special individuals.

*holding your hand*
Denise

Stacie Hoo said...

It is not easy to let someone we love go, but I'm very glad your family is together--for your Grandpa and for each other. Sending you a great big hug!
Stacie

ThisOldHenHouse said...

Sending you ooodles of hugs and blessings and love!

Try and celebrate your grandfathers life and his impact on your life and Liv's life and try and be happy that so much love was shared in your family.

My prayers and thoughts are with you ♥

Debbie Nelson said...

Anne,

I wish that I were with you right now to give you a hug. You write so well....I can feel the pain you are experiencing and also the love. I am so happy that your grandfather has such a warm and loving family with him. I think that the hardest thing we have to do in life is give up our loved ones....there is nothing easy about it. You will have wonderful memories of your last times with him, as will Liv. What a lucky little girl to have her parents include her in this...she won't forget it.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you during this time.

My prayers are with you.

Love,
Debbie

Lisa_in_AR said...

Anne,
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. It's never easy losing someone you love. I'm glad that you, your family and grandfather are able to take comfort in each other and "the little things"...it doesn't have to be a big overt gesture to show your love for your grandfather. The love shines through in the simple act of spending time together, and holding a hand.
Lisa

joanie said...

Anne, I've been there and also not been there when there's been no chance to say goodbye. Sounds silly but your description of the hospital scene is probably all your grandfather wants or needs - just his family there, not trying to do or say anything. Hope he feels peace, I'm sure he feels love.

Janna said...

I'm so sorry for what you're going through. It isn't easy. I lost all 4 of my grandparents during the time I was 15-24. It was hard. Now there are lots of things I wish I had thought to ask them. If you haven't already, you may want to think of things you'd like to know about him and ask him to talk about that when he isn't too tired to talk. I found interesting books at Barnes and Noble in the children's section with blanks to fill in about various things for a grandparent to fill in for their grandchild. It was things like "what is your most favorite memory?" and "describe the house you grew up in".

If there is anything I can do at all for you, please call me.