My grandfather is dying. I am sorry for the bluntness of the first sentence but dying is a blunt process.
I have experienced death of distant relatives and of my patients, and have been emotionally unattached. But I have never had immediate family die or close friends. I have had a privileged life in that sense. But I have now come to today. Today is the day I see my grandfather dying.
It is late in the day and I cannot get the vision out of my head. I am writing this to help me to process the raw emotions running through me like a train to a nonstop journey to my heart.
Grief or grieving for the loss or about to lose someone is nothing but short of painful. It is something we can never run from or play hide and seek with. It will indeed hunt us down and find us. I do not like crying. I hate the feeling of it. I hate the suffocation of the the tears like an oceans wave killing you from the inside and then overspilling out through your eyes. It is a slow death in itself, the entire process of crying because of the pain you are experiencing I personally do not find refreshing. I find it draining. I find it absolutely exhausting.
I have had a complicated relationship with my grandfather. He has always been something like a statue figure to me. Someone that I respected and awed at but one that I in a sense never knew.
What I know about him though is he always wears a suit no matter how warm the weather, has a smile on his face, and is independent at even the age of 89.
I have only met my grandfather a handful of times due to family complexities and the distance of where he lives. The few times I have met him have etched in my mind forever. He has lines on his hands that have shown this is a man that has known hard work. He has a commanding voice that demands respect. His suit always has a waistcoat. He is a living pocket watch, always on time. He has the same three meals a day. He is a honest man.
When I see him today, I do not recognise my grandfather. This man now is frail. HIs dementia tries to engulf the strong man I know to be there underneath. His body is weak with an open wound oozing from the failing antibiotics. The cancer is invading his once strong self sufficient body. The seizures that try to carry him away to the land of sleep, while he fights to remain. I do not recognise this man.
It hurts me to look to at him. He lays on the bed covered in piles of blankets. It hurts me to look at him. My father bends down to speak to his father. It hurts me to look at him. I realise one day my father will replace his own father and so forth. It is a cycle that gets past on to the next generation. Life. Death. It pains me when I see my grandfather try to shake my fathers hand, as though passing the baton of life to my father. One day my father will pass the baton onto me. It hurts me to look at him. It is then my turn to speak to my grandfather. He smiles at me, and I remember my grandfather and the man that I once knew that is still there trying to surface. I try to hold onto his smile that I see.
I am scared this will be last time I am with him. I do not want to let go and be left behind. I want to keep him with me forever and stop this cycle of death. I am scared of the future without my grandfather in it. I am scared of my family leaving me. I am scared that one day it might be me leaving.
It hurts me to look at him.