I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but my Grandfather is in hospice at the moment. That means he receives all his medical care in the home (thank goodness!) and will never have to go through the anxiety and difficulty of going to the hospital or doctor again. But he's dying. He's in his mid-90s and while he's always been a robust man, he's stopped eating now and has grown frail.
Friends who've been with me for some time will remember that I was at my Grandmother's bedside during her final hours. It was a transformative experience for me and the first time I'd really seen death face-to-face. As a Buddhist, I think of death probably more often than most folks. It's a constant in the back of my mind. Oh, if I leave dishes out unwashed overnight, I might die and someone else would have to wash them. Oh, if I don't get this bill paid, I could die in a car accident and someone else would have to figure out what needs to be paid. It probably seems a bit petty but that's actually the way my mind works. Death will come. I'm aware that it will be a sad and stressful time for my family and don't want to leave unnecessary loose ends like stupid dishes.
Anyway, all those concerns no longer need bother Grandpa. He's in bed and kept comfortable. His body no longer needs food and he only wants the occasional touch of water. He's forgotten how to swallow. I haven't been to see him because he's a few hours away but my Ma is there, and my aunts and uncles. He couldn't be receiving better care. We're satisfied and thankful for the hospice workers who are at the house to help care for him 24/7.
When Grandma's time was near, I read the booklet that the hospice agency gave us. It detailed the death process and what we might expect. We've seen a very similar process in Grandpa. He calls out to his Mother as though he sees her (and my relatives swear the room gets a chill when he does that, like Great Grandma is there). His body has changed just the way we expected, though he has in general been more agitated than Grandma ever was. That might just be a personality thing. But that is part of what we expected.
It's a waiting game now. Perhaps he'll regain some strength. Perhaps he won't. Whenever it is his time to pass, he'll be surrounded by people who adore him. I'm thankful for our time with Grandpa, and that I was here in California for the past few years so I could get to know him and Grandma better. It was my honour to live with them and learn from their gracious example.
6:06 p.m. Ma called this evening just a moment ago to report that Grandpa had passed away at 5:22 p.m. tonight. I knew it would be today. I just knew it in my gut. It felt like a strange confidence. I wrote an obituary that I'll post one of these days. Grandpa was a true gentleman, a shining example of the a member of the greatest generation.