My widower grandfather is not doing too well

Discussion in 'Grief and Bereavement' started by Øyvind, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. Øyvind

    Øyvind Senior Member

    I just need to write this down, it's disturbing me so much. I don't care if anyone reads it.

    My grandmother died on the 5th of January.
    My Grandfather, now 80 years old, found her dead in the night, but went into shock or something, he tried to wake her for 12+ hours before he called my aunt and said" I can't wake up mom". By then he had been in so much pain and confusion/shock for 12 hours, trying to wake up a dead woman.

    On the night she died, I was really tired and thought I could sleep for days. But after 1 hour, around the time my grandfather found her dead, I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep, I was for no reason depressed, my heart was beating really fast, and I thought I was going crazy. I did not sleep untill 1 hour before I had to get up. I couldn't get anything done in school either, I felt horrible all day.
    I now think this was some sort of sixth sense.

    The funeral, which I had been terrified about going to since I heard she was dead(I thought it was going to be some morbid nightmare), was actually quite beautiful.

    My grandfather has some problems with his legs, and his hands shake a lot, so his children-my aunt and uncles- have gotten him help from some health care people who come by some times a day to help him with certain stuff.
    He's not senile or anything, he's still intelligent, in fact he's sharpened up since my GM died.

    My father and my aunt take turns visiting him and eating dinner with him each day.
    It's the first time in 53 years that he's lived alone.

    Thing is, before my GM died,he had someone that he was getting old with, so it was probably not that unpleasant.
    But now he lives alone, he's growing old alone, and his own children are now taking care of him. I can just imagine how that must feel.

    I thought he was doing fine, me and my father visited him on Friday, and he seemed to be well.
    But today my father had invited him to a dinner party at his(my father's) place, my sisters, my sister's boyfriend,and my nephew were coming. I was there when he invited him on friday, and he said it sounded wonderful.
    I thought it would be wonderful too.

    Today, something was different, however.
    I was already there, my father had gone to pick up my grandfather(from here on GF, for grandfather, not girlfriend). My sister was the first in the door. She said hello. Then my father was in the doorway. Then, after a while of my father standing there, my GF walked slowly and silently into the doorway. And then I saw how much he had changed in such a short time. He had lost a LOT of weight, his head was so small, he's always had a big (not comically, however) head and been quite heavy, with a sense of humour to cheer the family up.
    Now he's a skinny, shaking, depressed old man.
    He was shaking. He looked really sad. My father told him that he could keep his shoes on.
    That was the first time I felt really bad for him, I just wanted to cry. I haven't cried since I was 14.

    But I still thought that this would be a good day for him, being around family, the people who love him.

    BUT, it seemed everyone was ignoring him. They talked to him, but only a little, mostly in the form of practical questions, and they answered his questions. My other sister, the one with the 2 year old child and a boyfriend, said hi when she came, but it was a totally uninterested 'hi'.
    He was just kinda there.
    He tried to jump into conversations a lot, and his questions were answered and his statements noted with a "mmm" and "yes", but no one really talked to him.
    The only one who gave it a serious try was my sister's boyfriend, who asked how he was doing, and follow-up questions to that, now that my GM was dead. During this convo, my GF said he was doing fine, and that "I guess this is how it's supposed to be" and that there was not much else to do now but to answer phones. He said this in such a depressed and sad way.Another thing that disturbed and depressed me.

    Not that I think they were actively ignoring him, because they all love him, it's just they didn't seem to notice him most of the time, he observed conversations and tried to start ones himself, even asking questions I guess he didn't care about the answer to, such as "who is this guy on TV?".

    He was a guest, but to me it seemed like he was a guest who people have to invite, but no one is really happy to see.

    He's not senile,he seemed sharper than he had been in years, but he did say one thing which made no sense, while my father was talking about the dinner he was making, he said he had to count the rutabagas. There was no such thing in the dinner. My father just responded quickly "yes", probably terrified that my GF had said something which made no sense.

    Then at dinner, my GF started eating the food without any sauce, just dry potatoes and dry meatballs, and the sad look on his face while he was doing so (my father noticed and said there "was more" while sending the sauce) will haunt me to my grave.

    I did my best to talk to him as often as I could, but conversation is not something I'm good at. I was just praying to unseen forces that everyone would turn their attention to him and make this a good day,make hime laugh, make him happy, make him feel that he's living for a reason.
    Instead it seemed he's just waiting to die, and they act as if they're just waiting for him to die as well, that he's a burden that we have to invite, but don't have to pay attention to, instead of making his last weeks/moths/years a life worth living.

    I'm convinced they don't feel like that, but it's how it's like anyway.

    I left with my sister with child and her boyfriend, they were going to a concert my mother plays in(she's in an orchestra), and they dropped me off at home on the way there. My father and other sister were left with my GF. He was going to stay there as long as possible, I think, so he won't be alone for a long time. I hope things went better once I left.

    I cried like a lunatic when I came home(I live with my mother), and I won't sleep tonight. It's too painful.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2010
  2. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    It is hard to see someone we care about suffering and sad. I am glad your grandfather spent time with his family even though it seemed he was not included in conversation much. He was just happy to be amongst people and not alone It is okay you cried I hope it helped relieve some of the sadness in your heart. Your grandfather had a good day just because he was with people he loved take care.