Sunday, May 6, 2012

Life has a tendency to rumble.
And although sometimes the rumble can be just the little nudge you needed or a soft buzz in the background. Other times things happen that impact, well...everything.

I've written a blog before about my grandfather, and about his battle with Parkinson.
Reading it now makes me realize even more how things have changed since then, even though at the time it seemed bad already. Since then he's had several strokes, and in the past month or so he's been in and out of hospital at least once a week.

In fact, it got so bad two weeks ago, that they thought he was dying: he suddenly stopped breathing and was unresponsive. And literally had to be slapped back to life by the ambulance personnel.
I jumped on the first possible plane I could get on.

Seeing him this time was the most painful experience in my life, yet it was also excruciatingly beautiful.

If last time I saw him (on new year's) he was a shadow of who he used to be, he's now a soft breeze.

Always a strong man, who worked with his hands all his life, he was very fragile and delicate.
He lay in bed, or sat on a chair next to it, as he couldn't walk. And there had to be someone with him at all time. Verbal as he's always been, he's lost the capacity to speak over the past few months. Having only small moments when he manages to get a word out between unintelligible mumbles. And even mumbling is a heck of a lot of work for him.

But there I sat.
On the bed, next to the chair, where he sat shaking with Parkinson.
I talked to him.
I told him of my plans for the future, things I haven't shared with anybody else.
I told him of memories I had of us, from when I was a kid, but also more recent memories.
I told him of everything that was going on in my life at that moment.
And he grabbed my hand with both his trembling hands and squeezed it so tight that it felt like he was putting all of his strength into it.
He mumbled and smiled broadly.
He told me he was happy.
Painful as they are, and much as I've been crying every day since I left, trying to process everything;
the few little moments I had there sitting on the edge of his bed, next to his chair, are some of the most precious and special moments in my entire life. They are treasures worth more than any riches in the world could ever be worth.
I may not have much, but I have that.

I took that picture just before I had to leave to the airport.
As he squeezed my hand when I told him I had to go.
Gave him the biggest hug I could muster and whispered in his ear:
"See you later, grandpa.", I said.

I don't believe in goodbyes.

The doctors can't predict how long he will be around, and if things will get worse soon, or if he'll get some of his strength back. So I just call him every single day, and tell him what I've been upto.
Try my best to make him smile.
It's his 84th birthday in two weeks...