After three and a half weeks in the hospital, my grandfather was moved to a nursing home yesterday in his hometown of Abilene. Hospice has been called in and everything is set up the way my grandfather wants it. While we all know that his condition now requires 24 hour a day access to medical personnel, it was still a difficult decision for everyone. He continues to weaken, and much as it pains my grandmother, she can no longer provide the kind of specified care he requires. So my mother and father found a home, my grandmother approved it, and the wheels were set in motion.
Even though this was a situation that my grandparents had decided their response to many years ago (they both took out long term care policies), it is still very tough. The first part of the house my grandparents live in was built in 1946 by my grandfather. And I don't mean he had it built; I mean he built it with his own two hands and his own tools. It was built onto over the years as they had children. They added a den when my aunt was married and the reception was at their house. It was added onto again when grandchildren came along. Except for a brief hiatus in New Mexico of less than a year when my mother was young, my grandparents have lived there ever since 1946.
It saddens me that he will probably never see it again. His last memories of it will be the day my mom had to drag his chair out to the garage to get him in the car to take him to the hospital. He was too weak to walk the few feet that required. Even though she is not yet a widow, my grandmother must face the long nights at home alone in the bed they have shared for 64 years. There will be no more 6 am coffee pots for the two of them to share. I doubt he'll ever go through the doors of their church again.
My mom says this summer has been good in that God has used it to prepare all of us to say goodbye and let him go. But it is hard. Really, really hard.