The old are not always wise. You are not expecting some sort of XX life lessons that Grandpa has taught me here but the ugly truth of getting old and sick, fragile with less dignity.
All good memory starts with a little bitter beginning. I was raised up by my Grandparents when I was an infant. Mum was not happy with two extra girls and dad dropped me at Grandpa’s. I was told as an evil to the family because I tended to grab anything to the ground and kept messy surroundings. Grandpa came up with a good idea to prevent me from skewing things up, he make a swing under the door frame and made me swinging the whole day long so that I could be exhausted and ended up a day in good sleep. As he pushing me on the swing, he would be cheerfully singing along, “Go up higher, my princess in the air!”
When I was in high school, Grandpa got a stroke（TIA, Transient ischemic attack）and ever since I could remember, he was holding a walking stick with him. He was not able to move a table, let along push me on a swing. He was not a hero anymore.
The following years, Grandpa revisited hospital every two to three years, and every time we welcomed a weaker him coming back. He used to walk out of the community to the downtown market and worship in the church on Sundays, but later he could only walk in the community, in the room, from his bed to the toilet. About ten years later, he was totally bedridden and we all saw his transformation from a giant talkative healthy man to a silent gloomy old man. He asked me to scratch his back because of itch and began to moan because of the pain.
During the school days, I would visit Grandpa on weekends. Three things left a deep impression on me.
- He does care.
I felt Grandpa’s home another chosen home for me. I really enjoyed curling at his sofa and every time when I woke up I found myself with a blanket over me. I knew it would be my Grandparents gentle actions and that’s why I always felt safe and ease at that home.
- He want something he could not enjoy.
When I got my first job I bought a whole lot of food to my Grandparents. They seemed to be very happy although it did take my head off to decide what to buy. There were endless delicious food but they could not consume. I would always remember one year before his birthday I was asking him what he wanted for birthday. He told me he would like to have cow louver and chicken hearts. He was toothless back then and I promised to get him some stewed beef and a big cream cake!
- He doesn’t like pooping on bed.
It was an incident! My aunt went to the grocery and I was the only one left taking care of Grandpa. And at this time, he wanted to poop. Definitely he was not able to control and hold it till aunt coming back. I was not able to move him from bed to the toilet bowl next to the bed. But I used all my effort to push his lower body off the bed and hanging over the adjusted toilet bowl. He pooped while still lying on bed.
Whoop! We avoided a catastrophe!
My grandpa’s life journey is a common one. He traveled around in China with his work and then settled after retirement.
He died on 24 Aug 2014 in the hospital at age of 91. My uncle in law called my father and other families in the morning, Grandpa had passed away peacefully. In an hour we rushed beside his bed, can’t help crying.
Before the funeral agent take over the body, his sons and daughter dressed him up and tied his hands and feet for fear of dragging around. They had a family meeting arguing whether let Grandma seeing Grandpa for the last time. As uncles worried she would weeping too hard to stand on her own. She could not remember it anyway. However, the honest families finally decided them seeing each other the very last chance. I was not brave enough to see that moment so I hide behind the door.
Grandpa was lucky. He was surrounded by all his loved families when he left the world. His sons and grandsons carried his body to the hearse van. They walked slowly downstairs and the dark aisle of the hospital seemed endless. Dad is the oldest son. He was at the back of the troop.
If grandpa is still alive, today is his 95th birthday. I would always remember the days when I was his princess.