A Special Love

It’s been a rough few days. My grandfather is dying, in his nursing home. He is almost 98 years old (his birthday is in February), and he has had a blessed life. He has 7 children, all of whom are constantly by his bedside, as well as many grandchildren, and even more great-grandchildren. He seems to be comfortable, though weak. And unlike many, he has had the opportunity to say goodbye. Several days ago his children were called, and my grandpa spent that day with them, saying goodbye, and telling them he missed their mother. My grandmother passed away in October of 2012. Grandpa is ready to go. But, selfishly, I don’t want him to go. My grandparents have been the best grandparents I could have ever asked for. And because my other set of grandparents passed away when I was very young, these grandparents were really the only ones I had. They were always there for me. They were the ones who took care of me when I was sick and my parents had to work. They were the ones who had me over for lunch every single school day when I was in grade 7 and grade 8 because they lived across the street from my school. They were there for plays, graduations, wedding celebrations, and baby showers. When I ran away from home as a teenager (for a few days – don’t ask), guess where I went? Yes. I went to my grandparents’ house. Needless to say, I have had a special relationship with them, and I have been extremely close with them. I had regular phone conversations with my grandmother, and sometimes with my grandpa who wasn’t as chatty as my grandma (I take after her in that way, and in many others!). My grandfather had a stroke when I was pregnant with my 7 year old son, and so since then it hasn’t been easy having conversations with him. He mostly just says, “Amen!” and, “My little honeybun!”. But he has always had a smile on his face. And now, lying in his bed and dying, weak and unable to eat or drink, my grandfather is still smiling. He is trying to say, “Amen!”, but he can’t get many of those “Amen”s out anymore. I went to visit him yesterday, just to be with him for a few hours while he lay in bed. I know there is nothing I can do – I fully accept that – but I wanted to see him. I want to make sure I get to see him as much as I can before… I cannot. I tear up with that thought, and, honestly, I can’t imagine a time when I won’t have him there. Yesterday I wanted to tell him how wonderful a grandfather he has been. I don’t think I have ever done that before. I wanted to tell him how much I love him. I wanted to hold his hand. I wanted to tell him I was there. And I did. I got that chance. It doesn’t make the thought of losing him any easier. It doesn’t make me less sad. But it was something. I didn’t get that chance with my grandma. And it kills me every day. Below is a picture that was taken before my grandfather’s stroke. I love it and I choose today to remember my grandpa and grandma like that: happy and smiling, loving, and healthy. I love you both. Thank you for all you did for me and all you mean to me.

grandparentsandme

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10 thoughts on “A Special Love

  1. Oh Shannon, I am so very sorry. You have been given a true blessing to be able to say goodbye to him and he to you. It’s tough. I was extremely close to my Nanie who passed right before my wedding in 2006. I still think about her every single day and although it will have been 8 years this year, missing her doesn’t get any easier and honestly, I don’t think it ever will, but you do learn to accept and move on and live your life knowing that they are still with you in some way or another. In a sense, that all we really need, knowing that even though they aren’t physically with you they still live in your heart and memories. Sending you big hugs!!!!!

    • Thank you so much Tammie. I have truly been blessed to have the opportunity to say goodbye and let him know how much I love him. It’s an opportunity many do not have. That is good advice, to know those who are gone are still with us in some way. It is comforting. Your words are much appreciated.

  2. It really is easy to tell him we love him, because he is easy to love. He has always been so steadfast in his love for us.

  3. Very lovely story.

    Your Grandparents were very important figures in many peoples lives. I was the Guelph Mercury paperboy at your grandparents, in 1975, with a large route covering what seemed to be 1/2 of Arthur. They were the last of my 50ish customers, living just down the street from my home. The Mercury had a horrible printing press that broke down several times a week, often delaying the papers for hours or even until the next day. One Friday (collection day) the paper was late coming in. At 9:30 p.m. I arrived at your Grandparents. The house was dark. I rang the doorbell to make my weekly collection. Ivan answered in his pyjamas. He didn’t look pleased. He asked me why I was so late and I explained about the late papers and collections. My memory tells me that he commented that I got him out of bed. Maybe my memory tricks me! He paid me my 70ish cents, quietly. He’s the only newspaper customer I ever had, that I may have gotten out of bed! At that time I was a 60 pound boy in the 5th grade!

  4. That is for sure….Did he even have pj’s, I don’t recall, maybe long johns. LOL. Yes, Dad worked around the clock some nights on the highway, plowing up and down Hwy 6 keeping the roads open.
    He was a good example of .great work ethics, poor guy probably just needed his sleep.
    I would wonder at a little guy out collecting at that hour myself.

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