grandpa update


Thank you all for your warm wishes for my grandpa (and me). I went over to see him yesterday afternoon, and if you can believe it, he HAD bounced back, just as I had hoped he would. He was sitting in his recliner, talking a mile a minute. Seriously, he covered the food he’d consumed; described the shirt that my mom wouldn’t let him cut open (I’m not sure why he wanted to do this); golf (his own tournaments and some famous victories by some famous golfers–I admit that I don’t absorb all of the details even when he tries to glare them into me); his gratitude for my mom and step-dad, who have been caring for him around the clock; and his hopes for getting better. “I hope I’m not being too optimistic,” he said, “but I feel pretty good, and I’m planning on feeling even better by the time it warms up.”

“That’s right,” I said. “Dammit.”

He smiled and gave me a nod and an almost-wink. “Dammit is right.” 

And I left my mom’s house shaking my head, not believing his recovery.

But then. But then. We got a call from my step-dad at about 8:30 p.m. Grandpa had passed out and had been taken to the ER. My sister came and picked me up. (I left a wailing Zoë at the door. Later D told me that she hid behind the bathroom door and wept. When he finally coaxed her out, she asked, “Did momma go to the hospital to die?” I nearly wept when I heard that. Poor little button.)

My sister and I didn’t know what to expect at the hospital. Had Spencer died? Was all that talking him just trying to get it all out? Those last words?

Well, he was lucid and alive, and actually seemed fine–tired, but fine. So we rotated in and out of his room (only two visitors at a time), and witnessed some of the terrifying sights of an ER: a gunshot wound, blood, lockdown. Finally, my mom mouthed through the glass door (she couldn’t get out and we couldn’t get in because of the lockdown) that Grandpa would be moving to a room, and that we should go. 

My sister and I finally left, and we were both exhausted, but I slept badly–my dreams those near reality dreams that fill me with anxiety and wake me every ten minutes. 

I don’t know what will happen in the days to come. I’ll try to spend as much time with him as possible, but I also need to write and teach. Somehow I’ll fit it all in. I will, won’t I?


  1. Oh, so much uncertainty is so hard and scary. I hope all the best for you and don't be afraid to give yourself a break–your students (and your book) will understand, I'm sure.

  2. Thinking of you and your grandpa, both amazing, loving people. Take care!

  3. Yes, it will. But it's understandable if you don't fit it all in. In the end, being with and watching your grandfather will be everything to you. I'm sorry that you are going through this stress — but I know your love is boundless and that will carry you through it all.

  4. Kate you will find the right balance for the situation, which may not really look like balance but will be what you need. Best wishes to your grandpa!

  5. Oh my. Too much going on – but you will get through. Hang in there. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  6. Sorry to hear about your grandpa, Kate. I'll keep him (and you) in our prayers. You take care.

  7. Prayers, Kate.

  8. Oh, Kate, I'm thinking of you and your family.

  9. Oh Kate, good to hear how he bounced back and I'm sorry he's in the hospital now. Spend the time you need with him and fit the rest in around – though I know that isn't easy. I'm so sorry about all the stress and uncertainty. Wish I was there to help in some way!

  10. Thank you all so much for your thoughts. He's actually doing really well now. He just got a pacemaker, and is now demanding ribs for dinner. He's determined to make it to at least 103. What a man. What an inspiration!

  11. Yes, you WILL fit it all in…it's what we do as women who care deeply. I'm so glad that, no matter what happens, you will have had time with your grandpa. Yours is such a poignant post, one that we all can relate to on some level. Don't forget to take care of yourelf somewhere in there…!

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