No one ever said death was easy but I found that the more information I had about my grandfather's last days, the better. My aunt told me of the wheelchair walks around the property, and to listen when he says he needs to leave a situation. When he says go, it means go, now.
What I appreciate is the briefing. To know what Grandma was enduring and to know where Grandpa was when I arrived.
They, amazingly, still fend for themselves.
My grandfather, Joe, had been very explicit about how goodbye would happen with me. "Let's have supper, then you put me to bed, then you go."
Putting him to bed means helping him out of his clothes, which he does quite well on his own, dressing him in his nightgown and after he lifts his legs into bed I pull the covers over him. He must be cold, he is so thin and just...so thin.
After I put him to bed I did the dishes and my grandmother and aunt were out on the porch. I wanted to spend time with them. I needed to collect my self, so the dishes were an obvious answer.
I have been a wreck after leaving him for the last 10 years. I love him so much. Until this time, when I knew leaving him was the last time I'd see him, I'd cry because I didn't know if I'd see him again. I walked out all right. But on my way out, I stopped to thank two of the managers of the home where my grandfolks are. One, a new guy, Paul, who is apparantly a minister also, said, "I have been what you're going through, and I know how it is." The tears well up and I thank them for being good to the people I love.
I had to bustle out because we'd already said our goodbyes and I was still talking to Grandma and Susan when he got up from his post dinner nap. I rushed out. I will never forget the image I have of him, sitting on the edge of his bed, eye patch, new fangled hearing aid, so skinny, looking straight ahead, probably because he couldn't see, waiting for Susan to put him in a wheelchair to take him around the grounds.
I left. I got in my rental car and cried like normal. I cried all down I80. I think I cry partially out of astonishment of life and...death. Tonight, though, I'm a little confused. Helen and Joe are just occupying my entire mind.
When I was there I could lift him in his wheel chair. I caught him once, when he almost fell. I wasn't concerned because catching him was so easy. He's so small.
I don't know why I am thinking about him so hard right now. In that vein, I am thinking of you Grandpa. If nothing else, to have a pain free death, and some sort of last laugh.
I love you.