I’ve been unsure about whether or not I should write about this.
This past weekend, I took Felix and drove roughly 4 hours to visit some family – specifically my grandfather. Crispy and Grandpaw were also there, as were a few cousins I don’t get to see often. But my grandfather was the main event. Not because it was a special occasion. It was just time.
He just turned 92. His time is running out. It’s not one of those awful hospital bed deals, thankfully. He’s just doing the slow fade. Everything about him is shrinking.
I hadn’t seen him in roughly a year, when my mom and aunts brought him down to see us when Felix was a newborn. Before that, it had probably been nearly a year since we had made it up to see him. The town where he lives isn’t exactly a destination town, and while 4 hours isn’t bad when you’re single, it’s an eternity with little kids who don’t travel well. I have felt guilty about that, that we haven’t made it up there more regularly.
The last couple of times I’ve seen my grandfather, he hasn’t really been my grandfather. He does have some dementia but, he’s not a raving madman, thankfully. It’s more gentle than that. He just gets agitated easily when his schedule is upset. When he gets agitated, you can see him gritting his teeth and cussing under his breath. You can’t really talk to him much, as he doesn’t have a lot to say. His world is so small now. He watches old cowboy movies, sure, and the news. But I don’t think he sees the news. I don’t know if he could talk about Crimea and missing/found airplanes. For decades, the man watched the Atlanta Braves. He hasn’t watched them in several years. It used to be something we could share and discuss. Now about all that’s left is the weather.
It just makes me sad.
My grandfather has always been the Sweetest Man in the World. He took me roller skating when I was little on these plastic clip-on skates. We would walk/skate down to this creek which seemed huge enough to me to be called The River. I dislike seeing him the way he is now. It’s uncomfortable. This reality does not match the one in my memory. The reality is, however, that the time is running out.
I’m sure one day I’ll be happy that I made the trip this past weekend and that this picture was taken, and who knows – maybe there will be time for at least one more trip. And I do feel certain that he enjoyed watching my little boy run around chattering and squealing. For now, though, I just feel sad about it.