Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lives lived

First of all, let's hear it for my mom who is 60 years old today! YAY!!! You know what they say about getting older - don't ever knock it as it's a privilege denied to many. That, of course, did not stop Barbra Streisand from (allegedly) saying that "[she] hates being sixty!!" only to have it appear on the front page of the National Enquirer for Jeff, Heidi and I to make jokes about until we turn 60. Happy birthday Mom!!

I found out tonight while I was talking to her on the phone that my grandfather is in the nursing home and is now on hospice care. My grandparents moved off the farm where they had lived virtually their entire married life (60+ years - that number just seems to keep coming back, no?) in January to move to an assisted living facility in a nearby small town. They've had a bit of a rough go of things - their health, while not bad, has been in decline for several years and living on a farm like that, a big house to have to clean and keep up just didn't seem practical any longer. They started off in the independent living section of the complex, only to be moved to the assisted living section rather unceremoniously a scant 4-6 weeks later. So in the span of a month and a half, they moved twice. When they hadn't moved in over 60 years.

And I guess that just recently (like in the past week), my grandfather has deteriorated enough to have to move to the nursing home part. He has prostate cancer - as will almost every man if they live long enough - and has been through the ringer with treatments, both chemotherapy and radiation. I know that he's been in a lot of pain, and he was brought up to be rather stoic and tolerate things (not like me!) and so I don't know that people knew he was in as much pain as he was. Well, the whole point of hospice is comfort measures so he's on morphine now and I think his pain is pretty well under control. He's not going to get any more cancer treatment, he's not going to get any more blood transfusions. It's all about comfort. He gets disoriented, doesn't know who people are sometimes, but did know enough to chastise one of my single cousins the other day for not "having a woman." (his words, I swear!)

We won't be going up this weekend for Christmas, but I am going to make a point to get up there sometime in January to see them.

He's 90 years old next January. Sometimes I marvel at the changes he's seen in his life. I wonder if I'll see that much change in my life. Perhaps - I mean, I have seen a lot in my 34 years. But the scope of change in the last 90 years - well, it's just amazing.


Paul said...

happy birthday to your mom :) Yay! My mom turned crazy cool when she turned 60 - not that she wasn't already...

best wishes for your grandpa - i have spent most of my working life developing assisted and independent living schemes and know how tough a transition it can be for the individual and family alike... hopefully though these sort of places are SO much better than they were years ago. Anyway hope all is well...

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday to your mom!

I'm sending white light to your grandfather. It's very strange to be powerless to prevent these very big life transitions, isn't it?