Thursday, June 30, 2011

Twice Lost

I have tried to blog about the death of my grandfather twice, and both times I’ve ended up reminiscing to the point of tears, unable to see my computer screen, and thus retired to bed.  But, the 3rd time is a charm so here goes:

My grandpa Bernie died two weeks ago today, with my grandma & mom at his side.  He suffered from dementia/ Alzheimers the past couple years, and his health had been declining in recent weeks.  In many ways, his passing was a blessing to him and those consumed with his care. 

While his death was expected, there is still something very surreal about the fact that he is truly gone.  As I spent time with my mother’s family last week, I have been reminded of so many memories and traits of my grandpa.  (I’m not going to recount them now, because that is where the tears come in and I’m pretty sure that would happen again.)

In grieving, however, I am having the strangest experience.  I find myself mourning over the loss of a man, who, ultimately had been gone from us for quite some time.  When Grandpa was placed in the nursing home, he was very confused, had trouble remembering this moment in time, and he spent most of his time sleeping.  I always tried to visit him when I came home, and with each visit, he seemed a bit more distant than the time before.  Of course, there were still glimpses of Grandpa—even in our limited conversations.

But at his funeral last Monday, my thoughts were not of the frail man, sleeping his days away in the nursing home.  They were of a much stronger, agile, energetic man, who loved naps—but spent his days actively involved in some project or activity.  My thoughts were of a man who eagerly engaged in conversations with all people, and truly loved learning about things, ideas, and people.  The person we lost last week, housed the soul of the man who Alzheimer’s Disease took years ago. So in many ways, we just lost him twice. 


  1. Good grandpas are so hard to lose. Mine passed in 2005, and I still catch myself thinking, "I should call Grampy about that." Sorry for your loss.

  2. I haven't been able to blog very much about losing Grandpa yet. Maybe I never will. I totally agree that we lost him twice.

    I feel guilty that I didn't visit more in the last couple of years. But the times that I did visit were really tough, because he wasn't Grandpa anymore. So I kind of took the lazy way out, blamed my busy schedule, and stayed away. I'm ashamed of that cowardice, but I will say that it's helped me with my memories.

    I remember the active old man who would swing my kids in circles at the beach. How many kids get to have their great-grandpa spin them around and around like that?!