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!