four months

The last four months have included some of the highest and lowest of moments.

– I have felt excructiating physical pain while telling a man his daughter died as he was waiting her arrival for dinner.  I have witnessed this same man plead to die so that he may give her his heart.
– I have been in the midst of an enormous family struggle that left us all feeling alone and missing a compass.
– I have learned the differences between Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Skilled Nursing facilities. 
– I have learned that no matter what…at age 92…quality food, along with linen napkins, and dinner chairs equipped with arms (an added plus with wheels) is enough to make a man happy.
– I have experienced proud moments knowing that a move at 92, while not easy, was undoubtedly the best decision we could have made.
– I have learned it is best not to push the elderly into change but gently guide them in the right direction.  Not much different than children really.
– I have realized that a significant amount of time and energy was directed away from my children but I will never regret the time I was given with my grandfather.
– I have learned that homes for the aging need to be ‘safety-proofed’ but opposite to those requirements of toddlers.  Everything needs to be WITHIN reach not out of it. 
– I have learned how to put on Jobst Socks and realized that 92 year old feet don’t look so hot.  It is kind of like changing your own babies diapers…when they are yours…you don’t really care.  However, word to the wise…invest in regular pedicures.
– I have learned the importance of lasix but the significant downfalls of feeling confined for the sheer necessity of having to pee every 15 minutes from the diuretic.
– I have learned over and over again how important it is to have an advocate in a health care setting.
– I have learned I better start saving now.
– I have learned the intracies of Medicare and private insurance.
– I have learned to fold a walker as easily as a stroller and sometimes in the same trip.  A little flip here, a fold here and voila…throw it in the trunk.
– I have learned how to recite medical history with ease.
– I have learned how important long shoe horns can be to someone who can no longer bend at the waist.
– While not for long, I have learned how to sit still and just listen. 
– I have belly laughed at stories and recollections of a different era.
– I have learned that it takes a special person to work with the elderly and an even more special person to help them die. 
– I have whispered into the ear of someone I love that is unconscious but hopefully able to still hear (doctors say hearing is the last thing someone loses before death) asked them ‘to just go’ promising them that their mother, father, daughter, and wives are eagerly awaiting their arrival.
– I have learned that a dead body isn’t just a dead body when it is someone you love.  It can actually look quite peaceful and bring significant comfort.
– I realized that we leave this world with NONE of our personal belongings…absolutely no materialistic things.  You leave just as you came…having nothing but the love of your family.

This morning my grandfather died of old age. 

Thank you, Grandpa…for living an extraordinary life and leaving us all with so many great memories.

P.S.  My grandfather’s last parting humor is for his obituary to include his Christening image of he as an infant.  He was insistent upon it.  He was kind of cute.

12 Responses to “four months”

  1. Betsy Roeder Says:

    AWESOME POST! What a wonderful man… I’m sure he felt the love of his family that was by his side in his final days. Thanks Tiffany for all you did for him-my mom would have been proud.

  2. Kathy Keeling Says:

    My heart is with you and your family.

  3. Suzy Says:

    I am so touched by this post. Although I am really sad right now – I am forever thankful that we were by his side when he passed. I know my Mom is taking care of him now.


  4. Jamie Simpson Says:

    Tiffany, I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather passing. Not everyone realizes how special parents and grandparents really are. For you to go out of your way to spend time with him and treat him with honor and respect, says a lot about you. Thank you for the great example. I am sure he loved every min. he was able to spend with you in the last months of his life.

  5. Susan Lytle Bishop Says:

    You are an amazing writer. I am thinking of you at this difficult time. You were given such a gift to have this time with your grandfather. The impact he had on you will stay with you for the rest of your life. And now you have shared your story with all of us and it has impacted us as well. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Carlton Lee Reed Says:

    Your Grandfather was a wonder man and I admired my father’s brother-in-law very much. Please provide information as to where we can send our condolance.

    The Reed Family

  7. susan Says:

    so sweet. i can only imagine how wonderful he must feel in heaven!

  8. John Davenport Says:

    Seeing a generation pass is, as you have discovered, an enlightening experience. Having lived with my dad for the last four years of his life was in many ways the education of a lifetime. I remember one of his famous parting tidbits “Growing old ain’t for sissys, every day something else goes away!” Eventually we all go away, but now you know the secret of a graceful passing. I told you a while back your grandfather would test you, he did and you passed with flying colors! From what I see and read in this blog, your whole life is and probably always will be a thing of beauty. If you don’t mind I will stay tuned to this channel , as I like success stories. My best to you and and your family as this most difficult year comes to a close. John Davenport

  9. Sarah Shalley Says:

    I am so sorry. I know how you are feeling and will pray for your healing. Find peace in knowing that he and your sweet Nine are together. It’s what he wanted all along, right? Much love to you.

  10. Jessica Strickland Says:

    this is soo sweet! tiff, you are an incredible writer. i am soo sorry for your loss, but happy that he’s is such a better place with people who he loves and who love him!

    much love…miss you!

  11. Evelyn Says:

    You are a real angel on Earth! What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. You blessed those around you as you testify of the wisdom gained from sharing with your loved one. You just reminded me of this Scripture: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

  12. Tim Says:

    I guess I thought your Grandfather was in the Air Force. However, looking at the uniform, it appears he was in the Army – Air Corps = which was the prelude/spinoff that created the Air Force.

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