Monday, October 4, 2010

Beginnings and Endings

I have been witnessing both new life and the end of life recently. My new baby is such a joy and I try to absorb everything about her and everything that she is doing and learning. I watch her discover new and exciting things and learn and grow.

My grandfather is nearing the end of his life and as time has passed he has had to left go of most of the control over his life. He had to give control of his finances over to someone else, he had to give control of his medication administration over to someone else, he had to give over the keys to his car to someone else and now has given over most of his possessions to others in order to downsize his belongings to a one room assisted living facility.

As I have been involved watching all this unfold, I am struck by how much the beginning of life is like the end of life. A baby has very little control and is dependent on others to do for her. She is forced to go along even if she doesn't want to and relies on others for all her needs. My grandfather is in much the same position. He is very dependent on others to do for him and has to rely on others and trust that his needs will be met.

The difference is, Smug-Baby has never known anything different and she is not able to express in words how she feels about her life (although the crying she does lets me know a lot). My grandfather on the other hand, knows what his life was like before. He knows what it is like to be in charge, to be the one taking care of everyone else and to watch piece by piece his control being taken away has to really suck ass!!

Also, his mind has starting slipping, just enough that he knows it's happening. It's not all the time, but we have to trust that what we think is real and to know that your mind is playing tricks on you has got to be really scary.

Smug-Sister and I spent the day unpacking his belongings into his room at the assisted living community where he will now be living and I was again struck. When you get your first apartment, you have very little. You have mismatched furniture and hand me down appliances and then has you start to settle into adulthood, you amass more material belongings and nicer things. Then as you get even older, your kids are grown or whatever, you start downsizing until all you have left fits into one small room.

I suppose that one may be ready for all this when the time comes, but I just feel like this would have to be the hardest time in life. Watching everything that you worked so hard for (physical strength, mental stability, possessions, etc.) stripped away. Maybe it's supposed to be that way, so you welcome death as a new stage, a new adventure.

Welcome to our city Grandpa, I hope that you will be happy in your new home and happy here with us.

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