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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Learning Patience Again... and again, and again, and again.

Earlier today I went and had lunch with my Grandpa Bob (the same grandpa that was mentioned in another recent post- legally blind and hard of hearing) and the whole thing was a reminder of patience.  He was having extra trouble hearing today, and his hearing aids were not working with him.  One of the first things he said to me when I picked him up was "I'm feeling very confused today and I am not sure why."  The combination of the two meant I had to repeat myself a lot.

I love Grandpa Bob- I think he's a fascinating man, funny, and one of the most genuine human beings ever to be on earth.  At nearly 90 years old, he's got some amazing stories spanning many decades.  The things he's seen and experienced are things that I could only imagine.

But it was hard today- he kept asking me the same questions again and again and repeating everything several times.  (It got a little frustrating- not him, but the situation.  It's hard to imagine what it must feel like to be in a position where you can't see anything and can barely hear anything, then add confusion on top of that.  I kept reminding myself that he thought it was the first time he was saying whatever it was, so I wouldn't start saying "Grandpa, you already asked that, remember?")  Grandpa has always been there my entire life, and he and I became close over the last seven or eight years, so it's hard to see him in such a state.  There is so much he used to be able to do that he isn't able to do anymore- simple things that we (as younger people) often take for granted and never realize that there will come a day when we won't be able to do things we once loved doing (like skydiving, dancing, swimming in the ocean waves, or see the faces and hear the voices of the ones we love).  At least, though, he's in good spirits- all he wants is some company and to know his family loves him.  I am not sure we tell him enough.

I've looked back over the years at my Grandpa Bob and at Grandpa McCoid (before he passed away at age 101) and thought to myself about how captivating life is.  Both of those men led incredible lives, full of adventure, joy, sorrow, good times, love, and every thing else that is part of the human experience.  Grandpa Bob used to be a pilot for the USAF- he was actually training in the air when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941 (age 19).  The combination of the two of them, as well as most other elderly people I've come across, inspired a novel I started a couple of years ago. I intend to finish it someday, but I need to completely rework it- my writing as changed so much since I started it (it was actually the first novel I ever started) and it needs A LOT of improvement, but I still like the general story concept.  It's about reflecting on life, respecting your elders and appreciating the experience and wisdom they have to offer, and offering what you know to the younger generations.  It's very dear to my heart, especially since it was inspired by a grandfather and a great-grandfather I admire greatly.

Grandpa Bob circa 1944


  1. Your grandpa Bob is a wonderful man, and yes it is very difficult to see him this way. The frustration he feels day in and day out is hard for him and even harder for those of us around him. You have wonderful patience and he loves being with you. He loves being with all of us, and we need to make sure that happens more... now more than ever. Grandpa McCoid too was a wonderful man, a jokester to the end.
    So for those of you reading this, be thankful for the people in your life, and like Stefanie says: someday those simple things in life will be long gone......... cherish the moments now.

  2. I know exactly what you're talking about ... I experience the same every day of my life.
    My grandma always says, that she realises the lapse of time only when she looks at me.
    For me, it's the other way around. As she watches me growing, I watch her ... dying, and I have to realise for myself, that I am not the child I were a few years ago any more. Sometimes, this is very hard for me, because I want to spend more time with her than she has left ...