It’s just Grandpa and me now. In these last days that he is in the process of dying, I am administering care anytime needed. He’s begun to sleep through the day and wakes up later in the evening around 8:00 pm. He grimaces and looks uncomfortable at times.
I knew immediately when he complained of pain when we moved him a few days ago that he had entered a new stage of dying. I was with my mother when she died in the hospital and I remember the same heightened sensitivity to touch, the agitation, the discomfort.
“Is she in pain?” I asked her doctor.
“Not pain, per se,” he said.
I don’t know what medicine they had given her, but I do remember her being coherent because at one point, she asked me if I liked the station wagon that my husband and I had bought from my father and her.
“It’s great for garage sales,” I said. Those were our last words. Now you have to understand my relationship with my mom – garage sailing equaled love!
I crush his medicine and feed it through his peg tube. He’s taking a medicine for anxiety, but nothing too heavy duty yet. I asked the doctor what can we give him that won’t knock him out mentally. I really want him to be lucid when he’s awake and not all drugged up on morphine. So far he hasn’t had to have any morphine . . .
I was taking care of him when he woke up and looked toward the door of his room. He began to wave. I don’t know who he saw, but I imagined it might be my mother.
“Did you see mom, dad?” I asked.
He mouthed, “No.”
“She’s waiting for you, Dad,” I said in a loud voice. He smiled at the thought. I can barely hear him now, but I think I saw him mouth the word, “Wonderful.”
“And Jesus, too,” I added, not to forget who the main attraction is up there, in heaven. “That heavenly train is waiting to take you home,” I encourage him.
I unlock the brake of his hospital bed and wheel it toward the North window that overlooks the front yard.
“I moved your bed, Grandpa,” I say in his good ear. “You can look out the front window!”
He opens his eyes, and gazing out the window, he smiles.
Beautiful pink and blue clouds gilded in gold from the rays of the setting sun, I see them beckoning to me beyond the room, the hallowed room of deliverance where my father will pass through my arms into the arms of our Lord and Savior.
While I hover and watch for signs of the final journey, Jesus waits on the other shore, a destination I imagine must be as beautiful as those clouds tonight outside his window.
To stand on those heavenly shores tomorrow or the next day, how blessed Grandpa is to be making the journey to the other side. I cannot imagine what it will be like here without him. At least with him still here, I can say I love you in a myriad of ways as I feed him, clothe him, and comfort him, but when he’s gone I will only have his memory to hold.
God knows it is time for him to receive his reward, and time for me to let go.