One Last Reason to Smile

On Friday, my aunt sent an update to our family group on Facebook that my grandpa’s most recent stay in the hospital had taken a turn for the worse.

I immediately decided that I should visit. I didn’t know if HOS would want to be in that situation – hospitals, sick grandpa, etc. I can see how that would be uncomfortable for someone new to our clan. The big question was whether or not to take Charlotte.

My sister called and we planned a trip for Sunday, but after talking things over with HOS, I decided that Charli would be a welcome distraction for my grandma. And HOS wanted to come along. So, I told my sister we decided to go up yesterday – Saturday.

The trip is about five hours without stops. During the drive, I thought about my memories of my grandpa and all the things I wanted to share with Charlotte. I thought about what I would write in this post after the visit.

We arrived at the hospital shortly after 4:30 in the afternoon. We talked to some of the family who was there visiting, but leaving for Mass. And then we went in to see grandpa.

He seemed so uncomfortable, and reminded me so much of my mom when she lay dying in her home hospice bed. The room even smelled the same. I felt somewhat claustrophobic, but I wanted to be there. I wanted him to see me and Charlotte.

Grandpa woke up. He talked to us and recognized all the visitors. He teased Charlotte, growling and smiling at her. She tossed her toy at him and he picked it up and shook it at her.

I couldn’t have asked for a better visit.

The nurses came in and asked us to leave so they could move him and change his bandages.

It wasn’t five minutes later that an alarm went off, and a nurse asked my grandma the hardest question I could ever imagine – Do you want us to so CPR?

We all stood in shock, and the. Broke down in tears.

My precious, loving grandma had never looked so frail and so broken. After 59 happy years of marriage, she had to honor her husband’s wishes. She had to let him go, completely and utterly unprepared to do so.

The next week will be filled with tears for the loss of a loved one and smiles for the wonderful memories. We will be strong and weak, hopeful and sad.

Above all else, we will still be a family created by an amazing man and his loving wife.

HOS made a comment that he was so happy that we and Charli were there to make his last moments happy. He just wished she would remember. She’s too young, but she’ll always know that she was one of the last things to make him smile before he went to join his daughters – my mom and my aunt – in Heaven.

Immortal Grandparents

My grandparents are immortal. I decided this long, long ago. However, like most childhood dreams, the world has a way of shining light on the holes – like mortality.

I’m blessed to have such amazing grandparents, and to have them for so long. I lost my mom nearly 7 years ago. They lost their first born. And then their last child just 9 months later. I have always been in awe of their love for one another, and recently in awe of their strength. They are the rock, the hub of our family.

My grandpa has been suffering from health issues for a while. He is back in the hospital with a potentially devastating prognosis.

We visited grandpa twice while visiting family in Nebraska this weekend. I stood there watching him play with Charlotte in his hospital bed, giving her sweet kisses, and I was so amazed. He is faced with surgery on his abdominal aorta and/or losing his leg, but he was all smiles and love.

Some day I hope to be as strong as my grandpa. I hope to encourage and love my grandchildren the way he has. In the mean time, I’ll take advantage of time with him and place my daughter in his arms as much as possible.

My grandparents are immortal. When I was a kid, I thought this meant they would be alive forever. Now I know that they will be made immortal through the impact they have made on their friends, family and community. Their memory and their love will live on.