I Went to Live With My Son
I am a frail old man who went to live with my son, my daughter-in-law, and my four-year old grandson, Justin.
Oh how very nice that little boy was to me. He even gave me a picture he found. It was a picture of a wonderful scooter training day in the park with his Daddy when he was younger and Justin thought it was he who was on the scooter with me.
He always kept coming into my room to see if I was doing well.
Every day he would ask me, “How are you doing Grandpa? I love you Grandpa.” and then he would give me a hug and a kiss and run off to play.
My heart yearned to hold him and play with him but my strength just wasn’t there anymore.
My old hands trembled, my grip wasn’t that firm any more and my eyesight was blurry. Even my dentures were making a lot of noise as I talked and ate.
I had lost much of my strength in my legs and that resulted in my steps being unstable.
Often I would loose my balance and stumble or bang against the walls of the house. Oh, did I say that I also experience a bit of memory loss at times?
Every day and every meal was an ordeal for me
It became more difficult to hold onto my fork and spoon and often my hand didn’t want to make it all the way to my mouth.
By the time I got the food to my mouth, I had lost a fair bit of what I had on my spoon.
For most of my first years with my son’s family we all ate together at the dinner table.
But this elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating rather difficult and I noticed the many annoying glances that were directed at me.
Oh how I wished I were not such a burden to anyone.
Peas rolled off my spoon and ended up on the floor.
When I grasped the glass often milk I often spilled it on the tablecloth.
My son and his wife must have become very irritated with the mess I made.
One night I heard them talking about me and my son said, “We must do something about grandfather, I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, his noisy eating, his open mouth and not to forget all of that wasted food on the floor.”
The next day I noticed that they had brought in my grandson’s small play table with little chairs and placed it in the corner of the kitchen. I think that someone must have taken my teeth on that day too and hidden them on me so that I would not be so noisy at the table.
There I was, all by myself and eating my meals facing the corner like a little misbehaved child.
Oh that was difficult to take.
I was embarrassed to have aged so rapidly after my wife died. I really enjoy some of the old memories I made but those memories were very few but whenever they came up did I ever cherish them.
Here is a picture of my sweetie and me in better times.
From that day on I was told to eat alone.
I ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner at the dinner table.
Since I had broken a dish or two, my food was served in a wooden bowl.
Sometimes when the family glanced in my direction, I am sure they could see my sadness and tears.
But I kept to myself in the corner at my grandson’s small play table.
From time to time I only heard words of criticism and scolding when I dropped a fork or spilled food.
My grandson was more quiet these days and he just kept watching in his now withdrawn silence.
One evening before supper, my son noticed Justin, my grandson playing with wood scraps on the floor. I was just around the corner and heard it all.
My son asked his son in a sweet sort of tone, “What are you making Justin?”
And with a soft kind voice, as he looked up to his Daddy, I heard him answer, “Oh, I am making another bowl for you and mama to eat out of.”
My sweet dear Justin I thought, God bless his young soul and his innocent understanding.
Justin just smiled at his Daddy and went back to work.
I know that this young boy’s words made tears well up in me and I just could not imagine how those same words would have affected his Daddy.
I’m sure these words from a young child would have struck a cord of compassion hidden away deep down in any parents heart.
I never heard any talk between my son and his wife after that.
The words must have so struck my son’s heart that he intuitively knew what needed to be done.
Though no word was spoken, both my son and his wife apparently knew what they had to do.
That evening my son took my hand and gently led me back to the family table.
For the remainder of my stay in their home I was invited to eat every meal with the family and Justin always sat right by my side and picked up anything I dropped.
Children are remarkably perceptive. Their eyes ever observe, their ears ever listen, and their minds ever process the messages they absorb.
If they see us patiently provide a happy home atmosphere for family members, they will imitate that attitude for the rest of their lives.
The wise parent realizes that every day is another building block day and that these – our outward actions result from the things we believe.
Believe in what is truth and the knowledge of truth will be reinforced and thus our actions are being laid for the child’s future.
Let us all be wise character builders and role models. Believe that this verse of Scripture is truth and you will know what which way you need to go as you raise children and grandchildren.
Comments which I have borrowed from my Google Plus post on this article.
The weak part of his body was his legs which couldn’t hold him. We had a wheel chair for him. But he had strong upper body strength. We loved him so much. And when it was time to let him go, we took him to our home town beside the sea, to a great little retirement hospital for palliative care, where he died.
Apparently I was told that because of how we cared for him, he lived longer than he was expected to live. He had cancers that could not be treated, multiple conditions which were challenging to control, like diabetes which required insulin, gout, angina, etc etc. He was constantly going into hypo or hyper, but I would stay on his case feeding him sweet drinks, taking his blood tests until he revived safely.
Some of my relatives were telling me to let him go many months before he passed. I am not a doctor, but I know that in order to be alive, the heart needs to keep pumping blood, the lungs need to breath air, the brain needs to be exercised and tested, the stomach needs food and drink and the body needs to have daily regular movement, not forgetting the cleaning and grooming of his body. He was such a grumpster of a man which was a good thing for assessing his alertiveness.
Jesus will unite us all again. We miss him so much. When he wasn’t an aging old man he was a hard working active man. He was a renown grumpster of which I’d never taken into account ever because I grew up with him and was well looked after by him. Most people saw his death as a relief because he is now in no pain or sorrow. And that is so right, but I felt so much grief. In three months we will have temple service for him, and six months after that we will have a memorial weekend for him.
Dying is a bloody expensive ordeal, from the embalming of the body, the coffin and transporting of the box thing, the grave, the carved stone, the work on the grave, and all the people you have to invite there because it’s culturally necessary. What shocked me was my discovery of how people make a ridiculous amount of money off your grief, especially in city regions.
Sometimes Love doesn’t abide by all those rules. It just wants to see the only man in world you respect be happy.