After church and a nap on the sofa today I visited my grandparents. They were sleeping when I got there. Granddaddy in his chair, Grandma in the hospital bed. I sat quietly for close to half an hour before Granddad woke up. He looked over at me and smiled sleepily, "how long have YOU been there?"
My grandmother is so tiny, so frail. I held her hand. She cannot speak properly anymore, but she woke at one point and I gave her some liquid on a sponge-stick. That's all she seems to be taking.
"I'm dying," she said to me in her barely-there voice. I nodded. "Yes," I said. We just held hands and looked at each other. I can't not cry. I try every time and I fail. This is a hard truth.
Later Granddad was holding her hand and I slipped into the adjacent sunroom. "I love you honey," he said. And then....he brushed her hair. He just gently brushed her hair on her pillow. My heart breaks at his devotion.
While standing in the sunroom I absentmindedly picked up an old-fashioned photo album. It was my mother's baby album, with sweet and poignant photos of my grandmother holding my mother. It took my breath away to look at them. My grandmother was so beautiful; my mother was so happy.
My grandfather held onto me before I left. "I remember the first time I saw you," he said. "Your parents were living in that little apartment. Grandma and I went to visit you there...." He was quiet for a while. "So much water under the bridge since then." Yes, I whispered. He just held me longer. And I held onto him.
Each time I come and go I check on her shoes. They are neatly placed under the hospital bed. They don't move. But they are there, like someone placed them there just in case. And that breaks my heart a little bit, too.
My sweet grandfather. Please pray for him.