A sad post, but I have no doubt that this will resonate with someone and am hopeful for you, whoever you are, that it helps you feel supported and understood.
Seven years ago, my enthusiastic, fit, active grandfather celebrated his 70th birthday. He celebrated by recruiting all the men in my family and taking them on a hiking trip up a dormant volcano in the upper Hunter Valley. We weren't worried he wouldn't make it. That type of worry would have been better suited for my 20-year-old fighting fit footballer brother. 'Grandie' was an A-grade tennis player, worked tirelessly on his property and was the most adventurous grandparent of the four I was still so blessed to have.
However, Grandie didn't cope that day at the top of the smoldering mountain. He struggled up, and was short of breath back. We didn't know it then, but he changed that day. Our fighting fit Pa, became a frail old man.
Grandie was diagnosed with Milo Dysplasia (MDA) a slow form of Leukemia which attacks the hemoglobin levels in the blood system. The next 7 years was a progression into the different stages of 'care' and comprehension that have led to today. There was the decision to move from their acreage on the outskirts of Tamworth, to smaller residents in Maitland, closer to family and hospitals, along with other ‘big decisions’ like the future of my grandparent’s finances and their will’s.
The smaller decisions were often more difficult for my family; which reclining chair is the most comfortable, yet the easiest to get out of? Will those satin sheets cause a fall if Grandie is to go to the bathroom late at night? At times the decisions were overwhelming, and we heard, sadly, of many rifts caused in other families over these small but significant choices.
When your loved one is sick decisions are just . . . hard. The future seems impossible to plan for when even the immediate future is so uncertain. On top of that, it is truly the last thing you want to be doing as you endeavor to prioritize spending as much time with your loved one as possible.
As a family we spent months sorting out the finances and touring facilities to find the right care for my Pa- trying to come to the ‘right’ decision for him. Sadly, he never made it into the care facility he was just yesterday accepted into. He slipped away peacefully early this morning in the company of his much loved wife, my Grandmother.
Whilst all the plans we made didn't eventuate in the end we are immensely grateful for businesses like Balance Aged Care Specialists, many of the nursing homes we toured and the staff of the hospitals we have 'lived' in over the past 7 years. Their expertise, and more importantly their understanding, gave my family the courage we needed to stay positive. They made the decisions a little easier to manage. We say goodbye to my grandpa today knowing that we made the best choices for him, ensuring he was surrounded by love and peace as he left this world.
Posted: 01-Jul-2014. Author: Jordie Cox
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