She’s still hanging on…

Grandma still loves to hold hands.

Grandma still loves to hold hands.

It’s been a crazy week.

Grandma’s decline has continued.  She no longer gets out of bed and is no longer verbal, other than an occasional word or series of unintelligible grunts.  Her eyes are distant and usually vacant.  She has stopped eating and is barely getting any fluids at all (though we are trying to make sure she at least isn’t dehydrated).

Calls to Hospice are becoming an almost daily occurrence.  Whether it’s to report some new symptom or to ask advice on what kind and how much medication to give her, I am getting to know the staff there really well.

They’re awesome.  Every time I call (even if the person on the other end of the phone isn’t someone I’ve talked to before) they are so helpful, concerned, compassionate and just…wonderful.  They always ask how I’m doing.  Care for the caregiver.  I’m humbled.

The work those people do is saintly.  They care for those who can’t care for themselves during some of the hardest and most vulnerable moments of their lives.  I know it’s their job…but most of them (especially the nurses) could get jobs elsewhere.  They CHOOSE this work.  That, to me, is incredible and I am more than grateful for their kindness and guidance right now.

My brother and sister-in-law have been here for a few days, which has been a lifesaver.  They’ve stepped in to do a lot of the day-to-day care that I had been doing.  I’m glad Brandon got here while Grandma was still alert and capable of coherent communication.  It cheered her a lot to see him.

Grandma was really happy to see Brandon when he got here.

Grandma was really happy to see Brandon when he got here.

We spend a lot of time now holding Grandma’s hand and stroking her hair.  This morning as I was leaving to go to a class for work I bent down and said good morning to her.  Her eyes fluttered open a little and she said “Guh muh”…then reached up and put her hand on my face.

Tonight, when I got home I said hello, and she opened her eyes a little, grabbed my hand and wrinkled her nose at me.

It’s little things like that that let me know she’s still in there.  She’s confused and probably a little bit scared, but she’s still got the energy to pull faces.

We’re doing our best to keep her comfortable and feeling safe and loved.  It’s all we can do.

I know it won’t be much longer, but I am so thankful for this time.  I’ve given her permission to go when she’s ready.  The rest is up to her.

16 thoughts on “She’s still hanging on…

  1. Debbie Smith Mikeska

    What a blessing you are to your grandma. I was able to take care of my dad at the end of his life & am truly blessed to have done so. You are a wonderful grandson. I will be praying for you & your family & that your grandma’s passing from this life will be peaceful.

  2. Marise

    Thanks for sharing this amazing story and loving, family time with all of us. I’m SO glad Brandon and Michi are there. These are precious moments for all of you. Rob, you have taken on a heroic role here, and I’m sure it is a time you will never forget or regret. Your grandmother is blessed to have you all as family.

  3. Cinde Van Tassel

    Rob, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and esp. your Grandma at this time. You will have no regrets when she finally does pass and this my friend will keep you going. If you need anything please let me know. Hugs to all, Cinde


    This is pretty much the same as what happened to my grandmother before she passed last year. You can expect some moments of clarity, but overall, the gradual retreat will continue. Stay strong my friend, embrace the experience, and be comforted in the knowledge that your love and care surely are appreciated.

  5. Kristin Myers

    Wishing Grandma much peace with this transition & lots of love being sent to you & Brandon. Big hugs my friend!

  6. Marge Deimerly

    Rob: My thoughts and prayers are with you. What a grand reunion she will have with her girls,.
    Keep posting. Cousin Marge.

  7. FrancesC

    Peace to you and your Grandma and your family. Thank you for sharing your journey together. Like Terri says above, you’re inspiring compassion in people around the world, and good thoughts are coming to you from across the globe.

  8. Jacqui Dawson

    Rob & Brandon –
    You’ve done such a beautiful, loving act, for so long. Your grandmother is a wonderful lady and it reflects in both of you. Your care for her has been excellent. My heart and prayers go out to you both, an may God continue to bless Grandma in her passing.

  9. Terri

    I see my little Mama in your Grandma’s face… so similar in their last days. I know how hard it is. You are good, loving grandchildren, and you and the hospice staff are taking great care of her. This real-life story is inspiring much compassion in the hearts of people you have never met. It might sound strange to read, “we are with you,” but, Rob, we are with you!


  10. Alyssa

    You and Brandon are in my thoughts. As always, the two of you are a credit to your mom and your grandmother. So in awe of all you are doing. xo


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