Monday, January 03, 2005

No! Pops! No!

hat Posted by Hello

The news from Philly is not good. My youngest sister and brother are flying East thursday after hearing that next weekend may be too late to see grandpa.

I have no desire to go. I have guilt about that on some levels but I also feel at peace with my visit back East in December. By the time I left my grandfather was no longer opening his eyes or even feeding himself.

To quote my cousin it is hard “to watch some you respect so much lose so much self respect.” It is hard to watch such a strong man reduced to the shell my grandfather is now, unable to walk, eat, relieve himself unassisted. Unable to communicate verbally. It is hard to watch him struggle with words and final utter impotent noises, indistinquishable as a word/sentence/thought. Harder still to see the tears of frustration.

When I say my grandfather was strong, I know it to be true, though he wasn't tall, burly, educated and never made much money.

But he has five grown grandchildren in their twenties, who love him. Who have backlogs of fond memories of lottery tickets and slurpies; milktrucks and WWF; Coin collecting and bowls of chocolate ice cream.

We each have our individual memories of a man who shaped our childhoods with worn and caring hands. Whose own childhood is haphazardly pieced together from fragments of memories, a mother who died at two, a father who turned him over to foster care.

Some of my memories are previously posted, some, like my potty training days, like a naked bath picture shown to your boyfriend in the seventh grade will follow me forever.

Gramps was in control. My mother was well in to her fourtieth week of pregnancy with her second child. Gramps/Grandpa/Pops/Dutch (we all had our names for him) flew West to look after me, and toilet train me before the arrival of my sister.

Every half hour he carried me to the bathroom, till I took to screaming when I saw him coming. "NO! POPS! NO!"

I've seen footage of the same behaviour as he pushed me around the driveway on my trike. Swatting at his hand in the old film I'm clearly mouthing "NO! POPs! NO!"

My cousin who spent the better part of his childhood at my grandparent's house, was quoting as a youngster as saying to his parents while they tried to convince him to leave grandma and grandpa's "but I stayed at your house last night."

Back East I heard my cousin pay Gramps the ultimate compliment. He could, with his journalism degree, write a better tribute than I ever could. But I think he summed it up best with, "I am who I am today because of him, I have what I have because of what he did not have and wanted for us"

I can only imagine what this time is like for my mother and aunt, because it is unbearable for me.

And if I had one last thing to say to my grandfather it would be,

No. Pops. No.

2 comment(s):

  • That was so beautiful. Thank you for this, I know you wrote to show you feelings about the situation but you say things that I am feeling and you do it so much better than i could.
    I really need to stop reading this at work though.

    By Blogger Lauren, at 1/05/2005 12:02:00 PM  

  • I don't even know you and I read this after I read your post today...You brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful statement of love. I am so sorry for your loss

    By Blogger Ezzie1, at 1/07/2005 07:42:00 AM  

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