I’m very fortunate that at my age I have not had to deal very much with death. I’m an extremely emotional person, but I don’t like to let people see me be emotional. Some people may find me “cold”, when I’m fighting with everything I have to keep my emotions in check, keep from breaking down. A huge amount of time that I’m alone is spent crying, it’s just how I deal with things. I have had a lot to deal with in my life, just not death. I guess eventually everyone has to. Sure, lots of family I don’t know well is gone, but people I don’t have much memory of even meeting. Now it’s coming closer though.
We’ve never been too close with extended family because they all live in Ontario, my parents moved away from Ontario when I was just a newborn. My Grandpa on my Dad’s side passed away when I was about 12, my Grandma hasn’t known who I am for a very long time. That set of Grandparents were farmers, they didn’t go anywhere, I never saw my Grandpa except when we would go there to visit. Grandma finally left home to travel after Grandpa passed away. I called her about 6 or 7 years ago, she barely knew who I was and certainly did not know who my kids were or that I had any. They got to meet her once at my brothers wedding, 12 years ago I believe(the last time I saw her), but at less than 6 months old and 2 years old they of course don’t remember her. Grandma’s hanging on. For the past few years I’ve heard that it will likely be her last Christmas, but I guess she’s not ready to go yet. She’s 96.
I haven’t seen my Grandparents on my Mom’s side in a very long time either. I’m guessing 9 years, maybe 10. I saw them a bit more growing up. We would visit them, they would visit us. I have great memories of both of them. I wish we lived close and I got to spend more time with them. I loved Grandpa’s blacksmithing and his old Rumley. I loved Grandma’s pies and jams. I loved “camping” at their old caboose in the bush. Grandpa hasn’t known anyone for a little while now. Grandma still is doing ok for her age.
My Mom called the other day, Grandpa is in the hospital. He has pneumonia. In both lungs. He’s 93?(either 93 now or on his next birthday, can’t remember what Mom said now). Mom called again yesterday, it’s not looking good. He can’t swallow, he’s not getting any food. They don’t recommend feeding tubes at this age and he’s already pulling out the other tubes so probably wouldn’t keep it in anyway. His only nutrients right now is through a tube, an IV I guess? My Dad called today, my Mom must be busy packing or too emotional to talk, likely both. The family(my Mom and her siblings) have to decide when to pull the tubes, it has to be done. He’ll be gone soon after that.
They were waiting for Grandma to ask to be taken to see him. Yesterday she hadn’t yet asked so they asked her. She did. She got to see him. Today she asked to go see him again. I know Grandma is pretty strong. She still knows who everyone is, she still remembers. I can’t imagine how hard it is to be strong, they have been married for 66 1/2 years. She hasn’t been able to be with him for a while, they’ve both needed a different level of care.
My Mom didn’t know when to go, she’s the only one who doesn’t live nearby. Going too early would only mean sitting there unable to do anything, he doesn’t even know who she is. If he hung on for a long while they couldn’t afford to stay, if he improved and they came home they couldn’t afford to go back, though I’m sure a way would have been found. Now they know for sure it’s the end. My parents will leave this weekend, they’ll drive. I hope for my Mom’s sake that they wait to pull the tubes and he holds on until she gets there. Even if she only gets minutes with him to say goodbye.
My sister and one brother will go to the funeral. Another brother apparently says he’s thinking about it, I don’t think he will though. I can’t go. My financial situation is no secret. There’s no money to go. But I’ve known that all along. I knew the time was coming and even when our finances were better I knew there was no way I could afford to go when the time came. The days are numbered before my Grandma’s are gone too, yeah one is doing well, but for how long after her love of so many years is gone? Thank goodness for memories, the memories I have of younger and healthier Grandparents are what makes it easy to accept that I never got to say goodbye. In some ways it’s comforting to know that my great memories are my last and not a funeral. I’m already crying more than I thought I would, I’m not very good at this.