Do you know what it's like to watch an image of yourself wither and die before your eyes? I I just read this on The Disposable Income Kid. These 3 paragraphs have put into words what I have been unable to the last 10 months.
"Taking care of my grandfather was a unique meditation on mortality in that. Every day I would look in his eyes and see the iron of his soul behind a veil of defeated sadness. He put his faith in his God, and his bodily vessel in my care. I made certain to tell him every day how brave he was, and thanked him for allowing me to give service to him. I know that if it were me, I wouldn't have the strength of heart to continue. To be trapped within myself... to submit to being absolutely helpless and cared for in every way after a lifetime of service... Yes, he was brave for that. I would have just shot myself.
When my father's father died, it was an honor to carry his body out of my grandmother's house with my dad and my brother. I have never felt anything like that. I put my hand on his cold forehead, told him thank you and goodbye. And I was happy that he could finally rest. The experience brought me closer to my grandmother, to whom I became a young anchor in our family, but also distanced me from other family who refused to be there for our patriarch in his dying days. I learned a lot about loyalty, service, forgiveness, mortality, grief, about letting go, and about taking up the mantle to rise above circumstances to do what I knew I must.
Perhaps it's not that my family members couldn't face death... but they couldn't bear to have their IMAGE of my grandfather die. They couldn't bear the pain of seeing that proud knight so tired and defeated. It is a difficult and unique experience, watching everything that makes someone human fade and blink out, like lights being turned off one by one at closing time, until everything is dark and they finally step out, and go home... "