Monday, May 2, 2011

For my Poppa

I visited my gram and poppa at Easter. It was family tradition to travel to see them every Easter as a kid. Just like every year of my life growing up, my gram had home made cookies in the cookie jar, and I slept in "Ambie's room" with the doey eyed mexican kids painted on the wall. But this year some things were different. This year my poppa is no longer at home. And this year he didn't know who I was.
Aging happens. But it hurt my heart to see him looking so old and frail in the hospital bed. To hear him ask to go home and know he will never see home again. To see the strain it has caused on my gram's health. The sparkle I did see in his eye came after I referred to him as "stinky" and myself as "ugly" the names we have called each other for as long as I can remember. When I left I knew it would be the last time I hugged him.
While I was there I went for a run. As I was coming down my gram and poppa's street this song came on my ipod. I thought of my poppa. And the thought crossed my mind that one day this would no longer be my gram and poppa's street. One day there will be no one there to visit at Easter. Tears streamed down my face as I ran towards the house and I was painfully aware of how short life is, how fleeting our youth, and our health can be. That one day we will all be old and on our final stretch of life. It made me realize I want a big basket full of memories. I want to die with a body that is well used and a mind that has stretched every day.
Good bye Poppa. Here's hoping they have Lucky Lager in heaven.

Dan Mangan "Basket" (live) from Tyler Stalman on Vimeo.

We are young
We have years ahead maybe
We might fall in love
Fall apart
Fall apart
Before it ends
Well we should try to start

So I'll go but I'm telling you I don't wanna go
Could be stuck here and happy

So there's a puzzle I work on endlessly
And I've got the sides and all the corners
But there's a space
Yeah there's a space
Lost some pieces I can't replace

So I'll be but I'm telling you I don't wanna be
Just a wasted puzzle piece

We are old
And our son took the dog away
And fair enough, guess we're tired all the time
All the time
And you know dogs they need ample time outside

So I'll stay but I'm telling you I don't, I don't wanna stay
So I'll brace myself against the wall and hope to God that I don't fall
My bones are worn, my hip won't hold
I used to be so young, how did I get so old?
Won't you take my cane and hold my hand
You're holding onto all I have
Just a basket full of memories
And I am losing more each day it seems
But if I can make it to the street
I'll steal a car or a bike whatever there is to steal
And it might get cold I just don't care
I'm going 'til I'm getting there
I'll ride my steed all through this town
'Til I have looked and I have found
Your peaceful memory
Won't you return to me?
Won't you return to me?


Amy said...

This post makes me soooo sad. I have a grandpa with alzheimers and it's awful.

On a happier note, how was the race?!?!?!?!

Julie said...

Oh Amber -- I was tearing up reading this post...I remember years ago, I was in my bedroom with my two dogs and I thought to myself, "I wish that everyone I loved would stay just like this forever."

I recognize the futility of this, but I HATE dealing with loss. Losing someone you love hurts so much, and even thinking about the inevitable loss hurts. Aargh. There are so many times I wish I were a stronger person!

I am so happy that you spent Easter with your grandparents. Those are memories you can cherish forever. :)

Kelly B. said...

I know. Its hard. I took my 96 year old grandma out for some errands last week and she could not remember our first stop after about an hour...kept asking me to go there! I had to show her the money in her wallet (it was the bank) a few times. She would be horrified as would your Poppa.
I think we just have to try to remember them as they were.