I am home. I came into NC for the Labor Day weekend. Though I might have come in to town anyway (because of the extended weekend), I had special reason to be here. Yesterday, my grandfather celebrated his 80th birthday. When I booked my flight in July, the mood for the weekend was of a celebratory nature. A monumental party was being planned and everyone was to attend. However, this weekend has ended up being an overwhelming mix of emotions; happiness, sadness, heart-wrenching longing, empathy, sympathy, and so much more.
My grandfather is dying.
Though I really feel that I would rather him pass on than to suffer, I am selfish. I do not want to lose him. I do not want live in a world where he does not exist. I guess for some it's better to know it is coming instead of being shocked and bewildered by a sudden death, but to know it is inevitable is just as hard as I imagine losing him will be.
Does knowing something is coming make it any easier to handle?
I've spent a lot of time in the hospital this holiday weekend. My father was diagnosed with MRSA and had to be quarantined in the infectious disease unit. Essentially, his body has no ability to fight any sort of infection because of the Leukemia. So, visiting my father in isolation, and seeing my grandfather (lucky they were just down the hall from each other, right?) has essentially been my weekend.
I feel that I am a relatively strong person (most of the time) but I am having a very difficult time dealing with this upcoming loss. Though there is obviously a grandfather/granddaughter relationship there, I also consider him to be one of my closest friends. When he goes, a piece of myself will be gone forever.
As I have looked upon my grandfather with teary eyes, I have noticed that the interactions with my grandparents (when they think no one is looking) is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching at the same time. Throughout 58 years of marriage, they are still very much in love. And even though my grandfather has hardly any fight left in him, my grandmother is fighting every step of the way. She is his caretaker, the meal-giver, the one who talks to the nurses, the one who ensures that he is feeling okay. There was a moment, right as she finished feeding him his lunch, where she took the napkin, wiped his mouth, and held his face in her hand. They looked at each other as if they were 25 years old again. No one else existed but the two of them.
It has certainly made me think - does love like that even exist anymore? And will I ever find someone to love long enough and cling to the final stages of life with? I mean, isn't that the point of all this? To find an other half - one that will be there until the very end, holding your face and gazing into your eyes; one who has a heart breaking in two but still lets you know that it's okay to let go, to stop suffering.
Though I may be a little cynical and skeptical about love and what it has in store for me. I know, in utter certainty, that I have witnessed love this weekend. And I have learned.. love is about loving someone not for who they ought to be, or could be, but as they are, until the very end.
So, though this weekend has been extremely difficult emotionally, it has also been very beneficial to my overall emotional health. I think I have been harboring all of this emotion in solitude in NYC, and I have been able to talk, cry, hug my family members, and really experience this time with them - instead of alone.
After all, alone is the last place I wanted to be.