On The Brain
I'm still thinking about my grandfather. My mom's in Auburn now, with him and my grandmother. He's on lots of morphine and is not in pain, well at least as we understand pain.
Sadly, we'll never understand death until we do it. Conveniently so we cannot relate it (maybe we can? I hope!) to the living who, too, will not even stand close to what it means to die until we do it for our selves. (Is that a really awkward sentence? I've been up for a long time...)
Anyway, I'm thinking of him on the edge of his bed, looking (staring?) forward. He must have been in worse shape than I understood while I was there. I bet that he's still with it, just sleepy as hell on pain killers. But, I talked to him, hoping he could read my lips, like he has for years since he's been completely deaf (thank you war), but there's hardly any way he could have seen me. Let alone hear me, although he always put on his hearing aid. Old habits die hard? But he would talk to me when he could, or had the energy.
One of the things he said to me while I was visiting was at dinner the evening I left. He made me take him down prior to my grandmother and my aunt Susan joining us. I think he knew he'd be too tired after dinner to tell me: "our society doesn't talk about death. It's silly, we all do it, and it's not so bad." There was more, but it'll take time for me to process that first sentence. I started bawling at the dinner table. It was remarkable to be in a room with all elderly people, who've all come here as their last living place to live, while talking to my grandfather about his death. I've never felt so understood as I did in that moment. No shame, no judgement and complete understanding of my grandfather's impending death.
Must go to bed. I anticipate public discussion of this continuing. New things just keep popping up and this is sort of my journal. So...be it.
(Adendum: I was looking at some pictures my mom had sent our friend Cabe and there were some of my grandfather. He made me laugh even in the state he was in when I was there. And he DID listen to me. We were at dinner with some people who my grandfather (oddly, I think) does not care for. He made some comment about leaving before dinner began. Now, I know I wrote earlier that when he said go, he meant go. But to this, I responded, "this [dinner] is not for you, it's for them." He patted me on my hand twice and ate. Then we went. He must have heard me. Or he just thought I was ignoring his request. Which I was, then again maybe he heard me. And agreed. I hope that's the case, because that's what I assumed at the time. I just think it'd be so awful if he left on a sour note with my grandmother's sister and husband. It'd be awful for all of them, maybe not him... The dinner was an opportunity for my grandmother to rebuild bonds so that when he died, she'd have people to call/be with/depend on. Networking. On the other end.