Sunday, March 18, 2018

My Friend's Grandpa

My friend's dad texted me to let me know that my friend's grandpa had just passed away tonight. He was 95 years old.

One month prior to his death, my friend's grandpa finally agreed to move in with the family. I'm really glad that I was able to have one last conversation with him this morning. My friends' parents were home, and I coincidentally decided to come over. I noticed this morning that my friend's grandpa was in really bad shape health wise.

When I entered the room, he did not notice me at all, even when I was standing right next to him. His eyes were unfocused. His right hand was moving back and forth in an illogical pattern, touching a piece of tissue paper and the remote repeatedly. He was propped up in bed with lots of pillows under his head because his spinal column had been crooked for a long time. I stood there observing him for a few seconds. Then as I touched his hand, he looked up at me and was immediately happy to see me. (The last time I saw him was about three months ago for a family dinner at a restaurant for his 95th birthday.) I could tell that he used all of his strength to answer my questions in a logical manner, and was able to carry a somewhat normal conversation, for someone who was old, sick, and very weak. He even asked me about what had happened to my car the night before. I told him the battery died, but that it was ok now. He even gave me his thoughts on it.

Then I realized it was getting tiring for him to talk, so I told him to rest up, and that he didn't have to always eat if he didn't really feel like it. He said that when he ate, the food would just stay in his throat. I asked if he could or would eat cream of mushroom soup (my favorite) today or tomorrow, and he said he could eat the soup, but not the mushrooms. He had not been eating anything, and I told him that I know it is hard to eat when your body doesn't want to, but just try to sip something even at every hour it would help. Then he immediately lifted up a cup of fluid and sipped it from a straw.

I had to leave to go get lunch and to do some work, and I told him to take care and to rest up, that I would be back. He watched me leave the room, and I asked if he wanted the door closed or opened. He showed me with his hands to leave it closed, but not all the way, about 6 inches open. So I did that and left.

I wish that I had stopped by more often to say hi to him during his last month of life. I'm glad that he was able to pass peacefully in his bed at home with family. He was waiting for my friend (his grandson) to come home from work, but he couldn't hold out any longer. My friend arrived home about thirty minutes later. My friend did not want to call me to tell me about it yet. I guess he wanted to wait until the next day to tell me.

“The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.”