Tuesday, April 10, 2012

That's How It Goes


HUBS' grandfather has liver cancer. In one week he went from being basically fine to not really recognizing his family. Since he's 91 years old (his birthday is actually in a couple of weeks) and the cancer wasn't found until it was very far along, there's no treatment that wouldn't make things much worse for him. Right now his family is just trying to keep him comfortable.

On Easter, HUBS and I met his parents at the house Grandaddy G shares with HUBS' uncle. We had the annual Easter dinner there without any of the usual fanfare. It was just us five around the table eating as his Grandaddy G rested in the hospital bed that hospice workers brought for him.

When we were about to eat dessert, a priest came to give him last rites. Apparently he was just coherent enough to follow what was going on and mouth responses at the appropriate times, but I didn't notice this. I was too busy trying not to cry, especially once HUBS' mom teared up.

I know how important that is to Catholics. Part of me was afraid that whatever is keeping Grandaddy G here would have its hold loosened by the rites and he'd die soon after. I've never seen anyone or thing that was significant to me or a loved one die. Not my grandmother, uncle, cousin or even Luanne. I was slightly terrified of being around for that. And so was HUBS.

There was a moment on Saturday when his parents had called and said Grandaddy G was doing badly and we should come over then, just in case he didn't make it to Easter. HUBS didn't want to go. He didn't want to be part of a death vigil; watching his beloved grandfather (his last grandparent, by the way) slowly fade away while he and the rest of us did nothing, because there was nothing we could do.

He also didn't want to know he might die and not try to get there to see him one last time. HUBS was torn. To the point where it, this horrible situation that many of us will come to at some point, made him angry. I told him he didn't have to go. I told him not to think about what his parents, sister, cousins, uncles or anyone else might say to him if he decided not to go. What was important was that he'd be able to look back on this day, and be alright if Grandaddy G died and he decided not to be there.

As we got ready to leave Saturday, he called his parents back and found out that his grandfather was doing much better. Well enough that his mom told us not to worry about the two hour drive that night, but to wait until Sunday as was originally planned. HUBS was clearly relieved.

Yesterday, his parents and uncle moved Grandaddy G into a nursing home in their small Mid-Missouri town. The same one that has taken care of two of HUBS' other ailing grandparents once the family couldn't care for them anymore. HUBS came home from work feeling tired, ignored, frustrated, disrespected...Sadness makes everything bad feel worse.

7 comments:

Love to Write said...

I am so sorry... losing a loved one is never easy. Losing them from an illness is almost better because you have time to prepare, you know it's coming. The real tears are yet to come. Just remember that they will no longer be suffering once they pass.

Citygirl said...

Thanks. I'm not sure which is better, dealing with the illness or having someone die suddenly. It's hard to watch people fall away, especially if they realize they are losing the battle. But a sudden death is hard, too.

The best thing would be no illness and to one night die in your sleep. Unfortunately not all of us will get to take the relatively easy way out.

blogneta said...

I know that this is a very difficult time for you and your family. It can get very tiring and draining and I am sorry that you are having difficulties with the process of dying.
I guess I could try to say a lot of things and indeed maybe my words would be of help.

Please know that dying truly is a part of life...the passage of life and though we may feel sorrow, we should also take the time to honor the person who is leaving, just as we would say our good byes to a guest who is leaving our home.

Instead of looking at this as a loss ( easier said than done I know) maybe look at this time as time to say good bye, thank you for being in your (husbands) life letting the grandfather know how much he was loved.

What a wonderful thing to do and the closure it will bring to all of you will be remembered for years to come.

Be at Peace!

Susan Cooper said...

It is so hard to watch someone we love go through a devastating illness. We are reminded of how they were before the condition manifested itself with all the current memories. It make it doubly hard because they are recent memories and we feel so helpless not having the ability to make it better or to go away.

I have been there and my heart goes out to you. Hang in there. Susan Cooper

Tracey Nolan said...

Oh, Honey. I SO understand where HUBS is coming from. Love to you guys. xo

Bindu said...

The fear of losing a beloved grandparent is really hard. i can totally understand your HUBS feelings. We can think that the time will heal us.

Citygirl said...

Susan, Tracey, Bindu: Thanks for the well wishes. It means a lot.

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