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Today I visited with my grandparents in order to say goodbye before I head off to New Brunswick again. My grandfather is in a nursing home now, so we went there first and after we visited him we took my grandma out for dinner. I find that every year I become more emotional after visiting with them, perhaps it’s because I see my grandfather’s life deterorating, and the impact that has on my grandmother. Perhaps it is because I regret not having loved them more when I was a child. Perhaps it is because I am thankful for the days I have spent with them over the past few summers.

On the drive home I was telling my mom how thankful I was that she volunteered me to do their housecleaning three summers ago. As much as I hated the actually cleaning at the time, I loved spending time with my grandfather in the garden and with my grandma watching British soaps. I know that never once that summer did the thought cross my mind that someday grandpa would end up in a home. I have worked at a nursing home and seen people living with loneliness and dementia, but somehow I thought my grandfather was above all that, stronger than those men and women. That summer that I cleaned their house was the last summer he spent at home. He still doesn’t understand completely why he can’t go home. Tonight when we were all leaving he asked my grandma why he couldn’t come with us. And what he was supposed to do. “You stay here now, this is your room.” “Oh, okay.”

At dinner my grandmother began to cry, but being a strong-willed woman we all knew to keep quiet while she fought back the tears. Maybe that sounds insensitive on our part, but I know her and I know she would rather deal with her emotions in private rather than in front of all of us in a restaurant. Shortly after that I began to ask her questions I have never asked before. “When did you meet grandpa?” “How did grandpa propose?” She recently gave me two of her wedding photos, one which I have framed sitting on my desk. As she begins to sort out who will inherit what and so forth, these pictures are all I want. And her stories. These questions let her to reflect on her marriage and soon we were laughing at stories of my uncle wandering off to the ice cream stand when he was three, or my dad bringing all the neighbourhood kids through the house to see his new baby brother.

Anyways, it was a great night and I just wanted to write some thoughts down so I remember it.

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