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Posts Tagged ‘grandpa’

Love always, Jim

It is a long-standing tradition for my Mum, Grandma, and Aunt, to write one another poems for their wedding anniversaries. Without a doubt, they have touched on every topic you could imagine, from being the ultimate animal-lover, to aging and deafness, to the sillyness and joy in raising children and of course the always popular and fun toilet or dirty humour.

They’ve written some truly great poems over the years, but this one is particularly touching. My Mum just wrote this one for my grandparents would-be 55th wedding anniversary, and I asked her if I could share it here on my blog. Here it is:

Dear Betty,

Pity we fell short of 55 years,
Sorry my death brought forth your tears.
Remember the good times and the bad,
It gives balance to the years we had.

Look out for the kids like we always did,
No matter how old; to us they’re still kids.
Watch the grandkids mature and find their way,
You’ve lots of love and wisdom to send and say.

I’ve always loved you; I know you knew,
Even when disease kept me from telling you.
One day, God willing, we’ll be together, a pair.
Til then, my love, keep strong, live well and don’t despair.

Love always,
Jim

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A great man lost

Dear Grampy,

You left us yesterday. Rather, your body finally gave way to the ailments you had been struggling with for some time now. Because the Grampy I knew and loved had actually been missing for some time. The problem with Alzheimer’s is that I can’t pin-point the moment that you had forgotten me, the moment that you no longer understood you were a beloved grandfather. I’ve gotta say that Alzheimer’s disease is a real motherfucker. Although it left your body with us, your mind and spirit were gone.

But we are left with memories of you and your life. Both good and bad ones. But mostly good ones. Reminicing last night and today with mum&dad and Grammy, I learned a few stories I hadn’t heard before. Like how it is that your two daughters are so easily able to get in touch with their foul-mouthed-selves. In your younger days, you were a pro at firing off curse words to your fellow drivers. So pro in fact, that your little girl Nancy, exclaimed quite proudly during one of many car trips: “Jesus Christ Dad, 3 buses!” I heard about your adventures in plumbing, where every other word was ‘fuck’ or ‘goddamn’. Oh, and the time that you caught the biggest fish ever, and after having Nancy snap several picture of you with your glorious catch, discovered a few days later there was in fact no film in the camera. Oh the times you had!

And what about my memories? I will always remember you as a giant. I looked up to you both physically, and as a role model. You embodied so many admirable qualities: you worked hard to support and care for your family, you cherished the times spent with family and friends, you never took life too seriously, and you made your voice and opinions heard. You always told me to pursue my dreams, it was important not to lose sight of what you wanted to get out of life. You taught me to drive. Your booming laugh was always so contagious. And we could always, always count on our favourite lines at family gatherings: you calling Grammy, “little girl”; always asking “Is it free?” when invited for dinner or offered desserts; and asking me if I was being good and staying out of trouble. Let’s not forget about those phonecalls that would start with “Hi Rach, it’s your stupid grandfather calling for more computer help”. All these memories and words I will hold with me.

This week was difficult. It was emotionally draining and physically exhausting. I had tried to get myself to start my yoga this week, but every morning I woke up I could not for the life of me motivate myself to go. Until this morning, after you were gone. Truthfully, I think I was scared to leave the house and miss the call. And so when I finally made it to hot yoga, it was a cathartic experience for sure. I found myself crying a little during a couple postures and knew my body was releasing the grief and the tension I had been holding in all week. Grief and tension that me and my family had all been feeling.

You are gone now, and it’s still hard to grasp. I feel as though I am still waiting to see you walk through the front door with your bright red coat, and your big grin. Family get-togethers will not be the same without you. But rest assured, your memory will live on when we talk about you, and use your classic one-liners.

Love you Gramps,

Rach

Jim Driscoll, May 30 1931 - January 6 2011

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1. Someone’s blog entry today read:
“It’s GREAT to be alive!” When is the last time you woke up in the morning and felt like saying that expression? When is it that you woke up with a smile on your face? What would it take for that to happen to you again? Do it!
What I love about this is how simple and instructional it is. Think hard. When were you last real happy? Like REAL happy! Not just pleased, or content. When did you last smile without realizing you were smiling? When did you last laugh so hard your stomach hurt? Who do you feel most happy around? Why were you so happy? What will it take to feel like that again? Got it? Now go do it.

2. In response to the multiple youth suicides over the last month and a half, I came across this article which looks at the tolerance of hate in Western (specifically American) culture.

3. This pizza looks absolutely mouth-watering!

4. On Thanksgiving Monday I went to visit my grandpa, who I had not seen since the end of May. My grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago, and this past June he moved out of the home he shared with my grandma and into a government-run facility for long-term care of seniors. The facility is called LeisureWorld. Sure, this name is suitable for the half of the facility which houses seniors who are still mobile, still active and essentially still ‘with it’. But for the other half of the facility, it really doesn’t work.

To be honest, I had not gone to visit my grandpa because I was scared. When my mum had moved her dad into the facility, I remember the look on her face when she was describing the facility, his room, his surroundings, the other people there. It freaked me out. And the thought of going there to see my grandpa in a place where he didn’t really belong, where he was separated from his loved ones, where he would eventually die, was effing scary. So yeah, I put off going to see him, I made plans and excuses and didn’t find the courage to go until this weekend. Thanksgiving dinner just wasn’t the same without him there — we didn’t hear the usual “as long as it’s free” jokes, or hear his booming laugh, or feel our hearts give a little sigh when he would call Grammy “little girl” after so many years together. So I felt it was time to go.

You know what? It was just as scary as I thought it would be. It was extremely intimidating walking into the facility, where hallways are clogged with seniors in wheelchairs, most of them staring blankly, some asking you to help them, others asking you to take them with you, and still others just happy to see people. As we entered my grandpa’s room, we found him asleep on the bed, and I immediately noticed how skinny he was. He hasn’t been eating much over the last few months. My grandma gently woke him, and we all hugged and kissed him our hello’s, to which I got a smile, and silently hoped real hard that he remembered me as we embraced.

Anyway, overall the visit went well. My grandpa made very little eye contact, and most of what is said to him does not always register. He’s trying though, I can tell. My mum and grandma decorated his room with pictures of his family, of his life as a pilot, of his favourite dog, and other pictures. I snapped a few quick shots of these. I’m in the process of a poem, but it’s not ready yet.

5. I’ve fallen behind on posting about my yoga challenge. I’ll get back on that soon.

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