Day 25: Family Meetings

Today the siblings sit down and they will talk to my grandmother.

My grandpa’s social workers are saying that the family needs to get into the frame of mind that assisted living is what he’ll require now, and everyone has to revamp their way of thinking, about this stroke, the recovery, my grandfather and his future – tailor our thoughts from whatever they might have been and adjust to a new reality which is that after over fifty years in that little white house on that little street, my grandpa is never really going to be home there again.

He is in pain, he is depressed. He was too tired for physical therapy yesterday. He won’t eat. He is easily confused.

This is not a reality I like. This is not a reality I know what to do with.

My grandpa has always been a man small in stature, and after his bout with stomach cancer when he had half his stomach removed, he was even smaller. But he’s never been someone I would perceive as fragile or weak. I once carried him in my arms as one would hold a baby – but I’m less sure that it was because he was that small or that I’m that badass.

I just can’t get out of my head the man he has always been. The man with Lifesavers in church, the man who always kept a jar of cookies in his kitchen, the maker of spectacular potatoes (American fries and ohmygod the latkes, so good), the man who always stocked up on red Koolaid for when we came to visit. The man who tells the story of the time I cried all the way down to Carmel when I was little.

I have never for a moment in my life doubted how much he loves me, how much he cares, how proud he is of me, how much he loves my daughters. Since the stroke, he is even more affectionate.

“Do you even know how precious you are?” he said to me and my sister last time.

He constantly says “I love you” and I am so grateful for that. So grateful for his words and that I still feel every bit as loved as I ever did, even though everything is changing.

I know he will resist assisted living. This is a man who well into his 80s has been shoveling his own driveway free of snow every winter. He will resist and he will hate it and I need him to be safe and to be cared for, but I don’t want his spirit to be broken and I don’t want him to give up.

And I don’t know what my grandmother will say – and she’s changed through the past few weeks as well. She’s softened a little bit, maybe. On Thanksgiving, she called me smart. I can’t remember the last unsolicited kindness she’s extended towards me. She told me I looked happier and offered some insight and sometimes I am surprised she is paying attention. This is, afterall, the woman who insulted my sister in the Emergency Room, hours after Grandpa’s stroke.

Today there will be a meeting and then we will all go on, putting one foot in front of the other doing what needs to be done.

Wish it were easier. Wish all of it were easier.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. Wonderful, wonderful post. Over the past month, I feel I’ve gotten to know you more than I have in the years I have been reading…

  2. My heart goes out to you. Family stuff can be icky. Wishing you and your family well as you put one foot in front of the other.

  3. Sending prayers and hugs to you and your family !

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