Last week I helped my husband’s family bury his mother. On Sunday I said goodbye to my grandfather.
My grandpa hasn’t passed away yet, but there is little time left, and he lives six hours away, so we made a quick weekend trip that allowed me to rub his thin arms, fold the blankets back when he felt too warm, and shout into his hearing aid that I love him. It took me back two weeks ago, when I sat at my mother-in-law’s bedside, swabbing her mouth with a water-soaked sponge and telling her to squeeze my hand when I’d interpreted her grunted request correctly.
“I’m pushing 94,” my grandpa said in one of his lucid moments, as I leaned in for a kiss. My grandmother stood in the doorway, resting on her cane and watching. They lost a son last year to cancer. I got to say goodbye to him, too.
The last time I saw my grandpa, this past summer, I was with my daughter. He wasn’t expecting our visit. He moved slowly into the kitchen, using a walker for the first time in his life after breaking a hip, and when he spotted us he stopped in the door frame, shook his head, and called out with a cracked voice, “God bless you!” He choked back tears, asked if we were all right, then said, his voice still cracking, that he loved us.
As I leaned over him Sunday for one last hug, I could feel him reach out for my husband’s hand over my back.
“I’m so glad you married my granddaughter,” he said.
What a gift he gave me in those seven words to my husband. He may have chosen them carefully, but I believe he simply spoke from the heart . A full heart that I’m going to miss very much.