My loving, caring, stoic grandfather is dying. He has been in hospital for weeks since breaking his second hip of 2012, his recovery took a turn for the worse a couple weeks ago and he was transferred back to the main hospital from the community hospital he had been in.
This week there was a change and it became clear that he was deteriorating and would soon die. He is 94 years young and as my Gran was telling me last night, ‘at our age your body parts are just very tired and eventually stop working’.
Yesterday afternoon I had the privilege of sitting with Grandad for a couple hours. He has never been a particularly tactile person but we sat in (mostly) silence and held hands. He woke up shortly after my Mum left to go home and greeted me by name, so I know he knew I was there. While he was resting, I was reflecting on my life. I realised I don’t often stop for a prolonged period and just think, about me.
There is something about sitting with someone at the end of their life that makes you consider the richness and balance of your own. More on that another time. I think I will treasure those two hours for years to come. I’m not sure whether they will be as profound in the long run as they feel they could be now, but I am very, very grateful for having had the opportunity to sit and hold Grandad’s hand.
As I drove home May the Kindness by Jackie Oates was next up on my CD player, I’ve never really listened to the lyrics before but I found them quite poignant.
So share a moment, hold a hand
Wipe the tears, understand
Life is borrowed we contour
Speed and light and bring your spirit home
May the kindness, that starts with you
Turn full circle, when it’s due
And the flame, that burns your heart
Burn with love, and hold us now we part
I am grateful for every moment I’ve shared with my Grandad, particularly those yesterday afternoon.