I’m lying on a familiar couch in a familiar cabin in northern Georgia that hasn’t changed for as long as I can remember. (My grandmother said that was entirely intentional) The family has gathered from around the country to see my grandfather off. It’s relatively peaceful around the house and we’re all doing our best to keep him comfortable. We’re all glad that he’s here in the cabin he loved and not stuck in a hospital bed. We’re able to open windows and let him smell the fresh air and hear the rain. He’s able to sleep in his own bed, and in a familiar place. There’s always at least one of us by his side so he’s never alone as well.
I’m really glad I was able to drop everything and make it out here quickly to see him. He’s able to communicate with a few words here and there and definitely knows who we are and when we’re with him. Seeing him smile at me when I walked in after the 2300mile/12hour trip with only 2hrs of sleep on a plane made it totally worth it.
For now we sit and wait, eating a lot of food, reminiscing, watching old videos, looking at pictures, and just being here for him and each other. The rest of the extended family will be trickling in over the next few days most likely, and I’ll be here till Thursday. Suprisingly it’s not a depressing or all that sad of a gathering. We all knew that this day was coming eventually, and it’s progressing as naturally as possible. It’s wonderful to see the “results” of my grandfather’s life (3 grown children, 7 grandchildren, and now 3 great-grand children), to hear the stories, and to feel the love and care in the house. The beautiful surroundings, the peace of nature, and friendliness of neighbors really adds to it as well.
I said good-bye to my other grandfather about a year and a half ago, and now it’s time for the other one. Both of them were big role models and influences on who I’ve become. Their quiet confidence, their positive take on things, their patience and acceptance, their dedication, and their life are all things I aspire to. As I’ve sat by each of their beds I’ve marveled at the life they built over the years and hope that when one of my grandchildren is sitting by my bed they’ll look at me with that same admiration for a life well lived.