My wife and I made a regular habit of visiting my grandparents on a weekly basis. Sometimes it was just for cake and coffee, others grandma would go all out preparing a feast, which could easily feed an army.
We all had such a good time eating, playing games, talking about our lives and recanting cherished tales from yesterday. It became something we looked forward to from one week to another.
But while our regular visits remained unchanged, my grandparent’s health began to deteriorate.
My grandfather would battle Alzheimer’s disease for several years before his death. It was heart wrenching to watch his decline, though I’m happy to say that both my wife and I were by his side when he took his last breath.
As for my grandmother, she’s now 92 years old. Sadly she’s confined to a nursing home now – a sad reality for this once regal woman who always prided herself on her appearance.
She doesn’t speak much anymore and sometimes I’m not even sure she recognizes who we are. But just as we’d done for countless years before, my wife and I still make a habit of visiting her weekly – though the circumstances are anything but ideal.
I sometimes wonder what it will feel like to no longer maintain this weekly schedule – to know that the reason behind this opening on the calendar is because of the loss of someone so dear.
I fear that this day is quickly approaching, and though I’m a grown adult of 38 years old I don’t think the loss will be any easier to deal with when it happens.
There is a lesson here folks.
Everyone’s lives are busy, but don’t forget to make time for the people who have come before you – for those who are a part of your legacy. They deserve our attention and our compassion not only when they’re alive and well, but when they’re nearing the end of their days.
Rudolph Giuliani sums it up best.
“What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.”
One thought on “Grandparents – they hold a special place in our hearts”
First of all, Craig…how sad I am to hear of your grandmother’s declining health.
It can truly be seen what wonderful people you and your wife are and I’m quite sure your grandparents felt and feel the same way.
And ya’ know what my friend…you keep on visiting your grandmother and talking with her all the same. I believe she still knows you’re there and still knows who you are although it may not seem that she does.
Your age has nothing to do with how prepared you can or will be at a loved one’s passing and it will all depend on the depth of your relationship with them and how connected you were with them. I lost the last 3 of my grandparents in the last 5 years. These grandparents, while I loved each of them dearly, did not live near me for the past 15 or so years. I saw them fairly regularly at family dinners and such but never had the opportunity to spend lots of quality time with them like I did when I was young. While their deaths caused me great sadness, time has somewhat healed the wounds as they say.
My father’s mother however was a different story. I spent several summers at her house when I was young and a bond was created that has lasted my lifetime. She offered all the humor, kindness, wisdom and patience of which Rudy Giuliani speaks. She passed away 30 years ago and it was devastating for me. The next few summers after her death were my personal “openings on the calendar” that seemed so empty at the time.
Her death was unexpected and I didn’t get to say goodbye at all. While your heart is heavy grasping the reality of the future, try and celebrate the connection and closeness you’ve shared. Keep visiting her until the end…eating, playing games, talking about your lives and recanting cherished tales from yesterday…she knows it’s you.
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