My grandfather died last night. Since his surgery, he’s been having a hard time swallowing, which was then exacerbated by pneumonia. Every breath was labored, ineffective. As he days went on, he couldn’t eat or drink anything. It became increasingly hard for him to understand what was happening – he kept saying how hungry he was and asking me to go get him a piece of cake. It was heartbreaking.
We waited as long as we could, but finally decided to put a feeding tube in so he could get nutrition, hydration and pain medication. A few nights ago, after they started prepping him for his GI surgery, he ripped everything out – the barium tube, the IV, everything – and handed it all to the nurse. He told her that he was going to see my grandmother and his son in heaven. That was it; he’d made up his mind.
I find a lot of peace in knowing that, in the end, it was his call. I’ve had to answer a lot of questions about whether my grandfather would want this or that life-saving procedure, debating the viability of doing chest compression on 98 year old ribs or how he’d feel about being on a respirator. While I’d like to think we were making the right choices, or at least the ones he’d want, it’s an enormous responsibility.
By the end, it was hard for him to speak, but he was calm. He was ready and I respect that enormously. Not sure where to go from here, but I’m very, very glad that I’m not wandering around the middle of nowhere in Spain right now.
He would have liked this. ❤