Sunday, July 23, 2017

"Grandma, has Papa Died Yet?"

"Grandma, has Papa Died Yet?" That is a question I answered yesterday after getting home from visiting Gary while my Grandson was "helping" me pack boxes.

I visited Gary who was wide eyed, sitting straight and despite the look on his face, enjoying the unit dog Annie.

I stayed only a short while.  Each visit gets harder as I see a progressive decline even though his doctor says he is stable.

I explained to Alexander that Papa is still alive and that I would make sure that his Mom and I tell him when Papa goes to live with Jesus.  He nodded and seemed okay with the answer. 

Today after church, I debated visiting.  I'm torn between what Gary knows and what he doesn't.  So, I erred on the side of guilt and went.  What else would I be doing, right?

The caregiver was starting to feed Gary his water and juice with a spoon after his meal.  I went for a straw and she indicated that he cannot suck very well and that he gets his liquids by spoon now.  Of course, I did not believe her and helped myself to a straw from the cabinet.  She was half right.  He drank all of his juice through the straw very rapidly.  When it came to the water, he would not suck.  So, I fed him his thickened water until it was dry.  He "ate" it very fast. 

He was sitting over very dramatically and no matter what I tried, he COULD NOT sit straight.

I rolled him into the living room where there was less noise and action.  Ironically, the Statler Brothers cd was blaring in the background with great Virginia Gospel playing.  (Hometown singers).

He was whispering constantly but his words were indecipherable.  I kept my ear next to his mouth and showered his forehead with kisses while I listened to no avail.  I held his hand and a couple of times he scratched my palm.

I took off his sandals and gave him a leg/foot rub.  He made noises as if he enjoyed it.  Meanwhile, I playing some Grateful Dead (Truckin, Ripple, Touch of Grey)and Pink Floyd (Wish you were here, Comfortably Numb). He showed no reaction but each song is tied to a memory stored somewhere in the hard drive of his brain.  Perhaps  when he meets Jerry Garcia in Heaven, he can share those memories!

As I started to really get emotional again, I decided to leave.  I drove home and went swimming with our daughter and grandson.  They had no idea how timely and therapeutic the time spent together was for me.  I so appreciate having them in my life.

So, yes Alexander, Papa is still alive for now.....

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