The phone rang at just before 11 one night this week; it was my sister. We have reached the age where phone calls after ten are usually not good. My sister asked me if I was awake, then she asked if UberGeek was nearby, then she asked if I was sure I was awake; I'm almost never asleep before 11PM. I wanted her to spit it out but didn't want to be rude and interrupt, I knew what was coming in a sort of awful way.
My mom had called her; my Papa had a major brain bleed, they thought this was going to be the end. Papa also suffers from leukemia, diabetes, and has had several prior strokes over the last few years. Still, until the last six months he was very sharp and had been doing quite well. Over the last day or so my Papa has been made comfortable and he is headed home with palliative care. I am thankful he will not have to spend the rest of his time in a hospital.
UberGeek and I had been alternating making the trip up to Virginia to visit every so many weeks. We both noticed a decline in Papa's level of functioning since Christmas. He used to look forward to my cooking and always took an interest in going outside on the porch. During my last visit, he slept most of the time and I could not get him to go outside at all; he hardly ate anything. I guess I knew it was coming, I just didn't anticipate that it would be this soon.
Papa was my grandmother's second husband, her first, my mother's father, died before I was born. Although he was not my grandfather by blood, it isn't blood that makes a relationship. My grandmother says that she was dating him when my mother was pregnant with me and she told him he had to marry her because I was going to need a grandfather. If you knew my grandmother, you'd know there probably wasn't much point arguing with her. During my high school years I lived with my grandparents for over two years and we were very close.
Sometime soon my grandfather will probably leave this earth; his body has been failing him now for quite a while. I have many good memories though, and I believe that he will have a new life he won't need that body for. I pray that my grandmother, who suffers from the cruel disease of Alzheimers, will be able to join him and leave behind the prison her mind has become. Although I'm not really sure how that will work out since she has her first husband too; I'm guessing all that stuff is small potatoes where they are going.
Grandma, Papa and Me