Thursday, January 24, 2008

Interesting Weekend

I had an interesting weekend. I drove to NJ with my Dad and sister Amata on Friday. We headed up East for a visit with my grandpa, and it was beyond an emotionally draining weekend. My grandpa is going to be 80 in March. About two years ago was the last time I saw him lucid...from there, he went downhill. In June '06, he traveled to my parents' house (about 10-12 hour drive for him). During his visit, they began to notice a few inconsistencies in his stories, and he mentioned to my dad that he was having double vision. My dad drive him back to NJ that time, to find that his eye dr. had decided he shouldn't drive more than ONE mile...and he had taken an approximately 400 mile trip. At that point he moved in with my aunt, until he fell and needed hospitalization. He was then in the hospital for about 10 days that fall ...from there he moved into the nursing home where he still lives.

It was so, extremely hard to see him like he was. It brings the saying to mind "You don't appreciate what you have until it is taken away." So, so true in this case. He used to be my grandfather, a man who loved nature, photography, being an involved deacon at his church, and his family.

Now...he seems to be nothing of the man he was. Now, he is a man who during our Saturday night dinner, put his salad in his soup, and ate it as such. A man who didn't remember who we were until our names were spoken, but rather knew that he should recognize us. A man who proclaimed "See those wonderful yellow apartments buildings? Those are new!" to a parking lot full of school buses. A man who dumped milk into his coffee at the diner, when he usually drinks it black. A man who stole my uncle's drink, thinking it was his...and passed my uncle's oatmeal cookie around the dinner table as if it were Communion. A man who spoke to us as if we were in a church RCIA meeting rather than his family, sitting around supporting him. A man who proclaimed to my dad, "Where is your star baby- the wife??", unable to recall my mom's name. A man who came up to me in his nursing home with his shirt not buttoned even halfway and asked "I look okay?"-- how humbling it is to help clothe an older member of the family.

And yet, for one milli-second during church on Sunday, I caught a glimpse of the old Grandpa, when he leaned over to me and whispered "It's the people that make the parish." One lucid thought the whole weekend, and one I will treasure forever-- because for just a second, he was back.

A cute kidism
Jack: Do you know why I like to work with you, Mrs. S*********??
Me: Why is that, Jack?
Jack: Because I LOVE you!!


  1. Oh what a sweet yet heart-breaking story. Thank you for sharing it. Gosh, I really need to go see my grandpa, he has been in a group home for over a year & I haven't been able to force myself to go. Cuz I'm nervous... I want to remember him as he was. But if he passes & I don't go, I'll feel even worse! Thank you for your post.

  2. Hi Bethany-

    We will be up and running again tomorrow! The subject is music. Hope you can join us.
    Have a terrific weekend.

    Saturday 9


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. Comments warmly welcomed! :-)