I was writing out Christmas cards a few days ago when I came upon the names of four people in my address book who have passed away this year.  My grandparents are included in these four.  I keep forgetting that they are no longer alive.  Their presence was just a fact of life.  While I did not see my grandparents very often, I kept in touch, calling them, sending them letters.  My grandmother was in so much pain for so many of her later years.  She confided in me more than once that she was ready to die.  She had lived a good life, but her life now was full of physical pain that wouldn’t go away.  She was ready to be out of pain. There is nothing wrong with that.  She died in a nursing home.

My grandfather seemed to fall apart after that.  He was taking care of himself, and refused to go in an assisted living place.  I think if he had done that, he would be still be alive and leading a pretty good life.  He had a friend in one of the facilities the family looked at.  This friend loved it there.  There were people around, there were trips and activities…someone to cook and help clean.  I think my grandfather wanted someone from the family to take him into their home and care for him.  But sadly, no one really could. My grandfather’s needs were greater than any one person could handle.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like had my father’s career not had us moving around so much.  Would I have known my grandparents better, and my cousins. What would it have been like to grow up near my extended family.  Just thoughts.

I miss my grandparents very much.  I am a piece of them…and during this season I will hold them close in my heart.

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