Those long last moments

My grandfather’s encounters with coherence are increasingly sporadic and short-lived.  During his last fit of lucidity, he ordered my family to remove his feeding tube. He was moved to a hospital in Natchitoches last night so that process could begin. His physicians then rushed him to ICU because he’s so infected and time is short. I was about to dash up I-49 to see him, but then my mother told me that the doctors might release him back to the nursing home once the tube is out. My brother and I are sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. From there, we’ll figure out where we’re supposed to go.

So here we are. We’re down to the last  days. There might be a few hours left. Is it awful for me to wish that it’s quick? I just want the old man’s suffering to end. I made my peace with his eventual death weeks ago. I got one last good day with him. Since then, it’s diminishing returns. I know he didn’t want to die an invalid. He was insistent about that. But we very well couldn’t just sit there and let him starve to death during those first few days. There was still a chance he’d recover…a slight one, but a chance all the same. But he made the call to end all of this, so we have to respect that.

These final moments will be tough. Like I noted earlier, I hope it’s a swift passage. It’s such a helpless feeling to watch someone you love suffer, especially when there’s very little you can do to comfort them. I’m reminded of one of my favorite Lucinda Williams songs, “Lake Charles.” When I heard her sing it Tuesday night, I thought about my grandfather. I broke down and bawled, because the chorus encapsulates my remaining hopes for him:

“Did an angel whisper in your ear
And hold you close and take away your fear
In those long last moments”


4 Comments on “Those long last moments”

  1. zohrbak says:

    Let me know if there’s anything I can do, or if you need to talk. Your grandfather and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. bruce lee says:

    God bless you (family) and your Grandfather, Wayne.

  3. dorquemada says:

    My brother and I just got back from visiting ICU. I told my grandfather that it was okay to stop fighting so hard – we’d be okay. Just go home. Don’t be scared to leave. He squeezed my hand a little tighter when I said that.

    • mom says:

      Looks like we both did that today- it’s hard giving him a kiss on the forehead, putting your head on his shoulder to get your hug knowing it may be the last, but no matter what he’ll be in God’s hands- hopefully it’ll be peaceful- love you

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