Last Friday evening my family and I were blessed greatly to witness and share in a very special moment between my youngest son Liam and my paternal grandfather.
Now to understand this moment a little better, I am going to share a little back-story information with you first.
In mid-December of 2011, my grandfather was in a car accident which broke his neck and landed him in the hospital with a trach and on a ventilator. He has been in the hospital and/or long-term care ever since with limited mobility/function in his arms and he is still on the ventilator.
Last Tuesday he was transitioned from traditional medical care to hospice care. After being in this situation for over a year, his body is beginning to shut down and he has decided that fighting so hard is becoming increasingly difficult. Sadly, the plan now is to just keep him comfortable and let nature take its course.
So, my parents, brother, sister, husband, our youngest son Liam and I all went to my grandfather’s long-term care facility Friday night for a visit and to essentially say “good-bye” to him. My grandmother (his wife) is currently in the same long-term care facility with health problems of her own. She was excited to see us all and joined us in my grandfather’s room for our visit along with one of my uncle’s and aunt who were there eating dinner with my grandmother.
Liam was sleeping in his carseat when we arrived and about 10 minutes in to our visit began to awake and stir. So I removed him from the carseat and took him over to my grandfather’s bedside to introduce him to his newest great-grandchild. My grandfather’s face lit up and he even had the slightest hint of a smile on his face! He reached up and grabbed Liam’s little hand and the two of them sat and stared smiling back and forth at each other for several minutes. It was like they were in their own little world. Neither could speak, but they communicated with each other just fine. I may be mistaken, but I think I even saw a tear form in my grandfather’s eye.
I saw one man coming toward the end of his time here on earth reflecting on all that he has accomplished and another little man just beginning his journey with endless opportunities and possiblities ahead of him. And then it dawned on me…one of my grandfather’s accomplishments was my son, his newest great grandchild…for from my grandfather and grandmother came my father and from my father and mother came me and from my husband and me came this sweet baby. Without my grandfather none of it would have been possible.
To me personally, that moment was a painful yet beautiful reminder that with every end comes a new beginning.
So the next time you are grieving an end…remember to also celebrate the new beginnings, whatever they may be.
To my grandfather:
I love you and will miss you. You have taught me incredible determination and perseverance watching you fight through this journey for the last 13 months. I promise you will live on through the memories, stories and pictures I share with my children about you.