January 27, 2015


I did something today that I honestly didn't think I would do again. My grandfather has been in a nursing home for quite some time now. In fact he hasn't gone back home since, if I remember right, March of 2014? Almost a year now.

I was visiting him regularly when he was in the hospital, when he was in rehabilitation in the hopes that he could build up some strength, and in the early parts when he was in the nursing home. But once his dementia started to get a lot worse I didn't feel like I could handle it anymore. I stopped going. I was constantly getting updates from my mother and my uncle. All of the news was heart breaking. I think that only furthered my dread of going again.

But today when my mother told me that she was going for the first time in three weeks (she has been pretty sick) for some reason I decided that I wanted to go too. My mother was surprised. Master was surprised. And to be honest I surprised myself.

I think part of why I wanted to go is because I have been so mad at my father for not going and basically not really wanting updates. He has told everyone time and again that the next time he was going to see his father, my grandfather, it would be when he was in a coffin.

I had justified it in my head that that is his father. I'm still technically the child here. I am almost 32 years old, but at the same time I felt/feel that he has more of a responsibility and I guess requirement.

But when I heard my mom say that she was going again that all ran through my head. I don't want the next time I saw my grandfather to be in a coffin. Not when I haven't seen him in so very long. I cried before I left. I was scared.

When we got there though I was fine. Okay I wasn't fine but I wasn't a mess either. I didn't cry. I smiled and talked with him. Honestly I was surprised he was up to talking. He doesn't talk a lot anymore. I had to tell him who I was several times before he recognized me, but honestly I wasn't expecting him to recognize me at all.

He had lunch while we were there. He didn't each much. He had a very, very small glass of chocolate milk that they put vitamins in. He ate chocolate pudding that also has vitamins in it. But he didn't really touch anything else. In fact he ate more imaginary food than anything.

He talked about how his doctor won't let him drive his car or mow his lawn anymore. He told me that he couldn't find his parachute and that the cords were all tangled up. (No idea. He has never been parachuting in his life.) I was very careful in how I answered his questions and I was also very careful not to offer too much assistance. He was struggling a lot with simple things and my first instinct was to help him. But I know that doing such would make him very angry. So I only offered help when it was absolutely necessary. Thankfully he didn't take my head off for it. In fact he was really nice about it.

My mother and I stayed for about a hour and a half. When we were getting ready to leave he was getting tired. I asked if I could give him a hug. He smiled and said my first name and then said, "That's my girl."

He gave me a very light hug. I tried very hard not to put any pressure into it. He is so, so skinny. His shoulder blades are literally jutting out and you can see that even though he has a thick flannel shirt on with a shirt on underneath.

I know that I caught him on a good day. In fact from all of the updates I have received I caught him on an insanely good day, even with the hallucinations. I had prepared myself for so much worse, which is why I was scared before I went.

Is that going to be my last visit? Probably not. Was it really difficult to sit there and hear him talk like that and watch him struggle with the tiniest things? Hell yes. But I am glad that I went. Am I expecting it to be that good next time? Hell no.

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