My Grandfather Has A New Address

Me and my pop!

For the last nine years of my life, every time I have went home to see my parents, I was always greeted by, not only my mom and dad, but my pop too. The next visit will be a little different, though. My pop will no longer be there, because as of yesterday, he has a new address; a nursing home.

When my pop first came to live with my parents, he was a 76 year old man who was still capable of doing the things he loved; fishing, walking, going for rides on his bike, and planting his vegetable gardens.  I remember thinking that there was nothing that could possibly slow him down. But, unfortunately there was. Over the last couple of years, not only have I watched him completely lose interest in everything he once loved to do, but I've watched him decline faster than I ever thought possible. I've also watched how both his Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease has completely taken away who my pop once was.

And that's been hard.  

But do you want to know what's been even harder for me through all of this?  Watching how this has impacted my parent's life. Knowing that what I'm feeling doesn't even hold a candle, I'm sure, to how my mom is feeling because, after all, it's her own father. Knowing how hard the decision of moving him was for her to make, and knowing that she prolonged it as much as she could.  And knowing that going forward, she will probably even worry more about him because he will no longer be in the room directly across from her. I always knew that my mom was patient, strong, and unbelievably selfless, but over the last few years I have witnessed these qualities time and time again while taking care of my pop.

So, as much as it breaks my heart to know that the next time I go home, I will no longer see my pop sitting on his couch, or sleeping in his bed, or sitting at his end of the dinner table, I'm so happy that my parents will be able to finally start doing some of the things they've always wanted to do. 

And although there is nothing but mixed emotions right now, I'm just so lucky that I had those last nine years to get to know my grandfather in a way that I know I would never have had otherwise.
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