Old hat to him, new information to her…

Dad and Reid share a moment

Reid flew into Omaha this weekend to visit his grandparents while there is time to visit, and his appearance was wonderful in every respect.  He spent much time with his grandfather and was an extraordinarily calming influence on his grandmother.  He handled himself beautifully with poise and maturity.  He departed Sunday afternoon after making his goodbyes.  Thus, some of what he saw first hand this weekend is old hat to him but is relatively new information to the other half of my brood, his sister.

Yet I don’t know if I have the energy to write a letter today to the kids.  Things have regressed here significantly since late Sunday afternoon, and the nighttime was one of sitting at his side, giving as much comfort as we can provide.  We are also wary of leaving his bedside to do other things.  The Hospice nurses agree.  We have said our goodbyes and told dad it is okay for him to let go.  It’s odd to give your father permission to find whatever awaits him.


June 21, 2010

Ellen/Reid: A pool of water greeted me this morning when I walked into the kitchen to make coffee.  The ice cube maker is barren of cubes; all of it liquidated onto the floor.  It is more proof that if it isn’t one thing, it’s another.  The freezer must be on the fritz and it has rubbed off on the crisper part of the refrigerator.  The apples were frozen like rocks.  Just another unexpected expense.  Drives me batty.

Thanks for your calls on Father’s Day.  Great to hear from the two of you.  Of course, nothing could take the place of A TRIP TO CHARLOTTE BY EITHER OF YOU.  Thus endeth the sermon.  But get down here when you can.

Your grandfather is holding his own.  He sleeps a lot yet sounds exhausted.  Not sure how that is but his nurses say he is snoozing quite a bit and he has yet to recapture his appetite.  He is taking some new medications for the fluids and he says he’s not in any pain so he’s had no additional morphine. His spirits seem okay.  Resigned but okay.  I got a call from one of the administrators at Lakeside.  It was nothing urgent, it’s just that she noticed your grandparents waiting in line, together, to get massages last Friday.  She thought it was cute and I wished I’d been there to see it.  Your grandfather says grandma is having a tough time with things in her separate wing.  This is probably as long as they have ever stayed apart in their married life.  I’m thinking of getting up there the 4th of July weekend but have yet to make plans.  Your uncle was in California this weekend to see Andy and Steph so he and I haven’t talked about the latest developments.  What will happen when all is said and done is that your grandmother will move to Grand Island.  That’s probably a good thing for both she and your uncle.  Otherwise, he’d be making a lot of 2.5 hour one way commutes to see her.

I’ve been wondering how to handle ‘the call’ when it comes and am not sure how I’ll react when it does occur.  I’ve been pretty stoic so far but such a feeling is very brittle.  I’ve been silently made my goodbyes and my pastor friend John at church has been very supportive.  No doubt I’ll be on the horn to you as soon as possible.  It will be a coat-and-tie situation for the men, although if it is very hot we will ditch the coats at the graveside service.  I think the thing to do is remember all the years and decades as he was, not how he is in this short term.  He seems very comfortable and that is what matters.  The nurses and Hospice are on top of that score.

The weather is just a bastard right now.  Saturday on the golf course was one of the most oppressive days I can remember.  Not a breath of wind and it was in the mid-90s with the humidity off the charts.  Just beastly.  Plus my game stinks.  For the first time in a long time I stopped keeping score.  Good for the tomatoes but bad for everything else.  And to think the summer is just starting.  My air conditioner was on the blink too but the repair guy said the problem wasn’t the unit itself but a damper in the attic that someone had tampered with last year.  It restricted the air flow.  Apparently what happened was another firm had come in last summer to pump a bit of Freon in the A/C and used the opportunity to strongly encourage me to buy a whole new device – right now – because it was liable to “go out at any minute.”  They spent a fair amount of time upstairs poking around.  Once they left the cooling was never quite the same.  In summary, the damper was fixed and it’s been ultra-cool ever since.

Again, thanks for the calls yesterday.  I’ll keep you posted on events in Omaha, and feel free to call your grandfather.  The best times would be about noon and 5:00.  Both are when he should be awake and ready for however much food he can eat at mealtimes.  As usual, he always asks how you two are doing.


Filed under Adult Children, Correspondence, Family

2 responses to “Old hat to him, new information to her…

  1. Pam Shaffer

    I am truly very sorry. Our parents are so wonderful and for so many years we expect them to be here for us forever. I share in your time of sorrow. Pam

  2. Pammy

    Dear David, Ellen, Reid and family, we send you our love and support, and our deepest sympathies on the loss of your dad and grandfather. There is no time more sacred in the life of anyone than the time when they leave us. I pray for your strength and hope the beautiful memories of his life can be a comfort to you all. Blessings, and sorrow, Love Pammy, Greg, Sammy and Nick

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