Monday, January 9, 2017
Nearing the Sunset of Life
My grandfather is 87 years old and his health has been steadily deteriorating these last few years. He is to the point where my grandmother is not going to be able to take care of him anymore. I would suggest she is already past that point because she can't do the things she loves anymore due to her full time job of taking care of my grandfather. But grandfather comes from a long line of stubborn people and he stubbornly refuses to move back to Iowa where family can help out.
Fortunately, my mom's brain cancer and prognosis perhaps spurred him to change his tune and he has said he is ready to move back. Last fall I did some legwork to find some full service facilities in the town where I live where they can transition from independent living to assisted living to nursing home as the need arises. During this last trip down, my wife and I spent quite a bit of time reviewing the information with my grandfather. My grandfather won't talk to my mom (his daughter) or uncle (his son) about these sort of things but he opens up to my wife because he trusts her clinical opinions I guess. So we have become the open channel of communication these last couple years.
This trip, we worked through some of the logistics of them making such a move. Foolishly I volunteered to fly down this spring and drive back a moving truck of their possessions while my uncle drives them back in their car. I'm certainly dreading the thought of that trip but will be happy when they get moved in. Fortunately, with the stuff I brought back this trip and previous cleanings, they don't have much left of sentimental value anymore, so there shouldn't be a whole lot that needs to be brought back.
Due to my grandfather's health and other logistics, this is the first time in three years I have seen him. He now hobbles only short distances with a cane and doesn't talk much anymore due to a difficulty in breathing. Still it was nice to see that old spark in him is still burning strong and his mental functions are still intact. If his body wasn't just worn out, he would be the same man I've always known. But his body is worn out and I think that depresses him some and angers him some. However this past week with his descendants all around him cheered him up and perhaps reinforced his decision to move back to where he could live among them. I'm hoping that if he survives long enough to make the move, perhaps the psychological aspects of living in a worn out body will be lessened by living among family to the point where his remaining years are a bit happier.