Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Saying goodbye to papa

Way back a long time ago when I was a kid (in the dark ages of the 1980s), I took swimming lessons. By the end of the course, we had covered all the important stuff and the only thing left was the master the high dive. Now, I was a naturally wussy child, I was scared of heights, and terrified of falling. So it was no surprise that when I got to the top of the high dive, I just stood there - frozen. The water below seemed so far down. I knew that the water would catch me, and I knew that I could swim up to the surface and over to the side. It was just the act of getting to the water that had me immobilized.

I think that must be where my grandfather has been, standing on the edge of this life and the next, knowing that rest awaits but unable to let go in order to get there.

He entered hospice care with heart failure at the end of April. At that time, his heart was working at 10% capacity. His health had been declining from that point for the last 3 months. He clung to life, even when others thought it was impossible for him to continue. By the end, his mind had deteriorated to the point that reality and imagination often got mixed together, he was mostly unable to communicate as his mouth could no longer form words, and he had forgotten how to use a straw to drink liquids. His sleep was wrought with agitation, possibly nightmares. Three times we gathered family together to be by his bedside, and three times he surprised us all by being here the following morning.

He finally let go on Tuesday morning. Later that morning, as we cleaned out his room at hospice, I could see him in his bed resting peacefully at last. I was so proud of him. He had finally made it off the high dive and into the water.


Lisa_in_AR said...

What a beautiful be floating weightlessly, without the pains of the mortal body.
What a blessing you had in being with him in his final hours.
My prayers are with you and your family.

ElegantSnobbery said...

{{{hugs}}} for your and your family! I can only imagine what a hard time this has been for you and your family. I'm sure he has been very, very loved by all of you and will be missed greatly!

ThisOldHenHouse said...

Hugs, love, and prayers to you and your family!

Your grandfather is still with you all, just now he's your angel :-)

Denise Felton said...

What a perfect metaphor. You understood Papa so well, and you gave him so much comfort in his last weeks and days. How lucky you both have been to have one another.

*holding your hand*

Julie Anne of Diamondmeenuh Creations said...

Hugs and then some from me, too. I'm so sorry for your loss and at the same time I'm glad Papa isn't suffering anymore and is at peace. My prayers are with you and your family as your hearts heal from this loss.

Beautifully written goodby post, too. Papa would be proud.

idyll hands said...

I really like how you put this. I can't say anymore than that.


Ekio Locatiare said...


I'm sorry for your loss, it's tough to let them go sometimes, but it's good hes not suffering anymore.

You have such an elegant way of putting things, it brought a tear to my eye to read it because I lost one of my grandfathers yesterday. Your writing makes me smile and cry at the same time.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Janna said...

You have such a way with words. That was so touching and beautiful. I you need anything, call me.


joanie said...

I echo all your other lovely comments. Glad you and your family and your grandfather have peace.
J x

Punkinhead said...

What they said. I'm waving a prayer flag for you Anne. HUGS to all of you.