My great grandmother is in the ICU. This will be her third hospital visit in a month. She’s eighty-three years old, and on a “decline,” according to her caretakers. I went to visit her tonight with my grandmother. Upon entering the room, it became all too real what her situation was really like. She didn’t look human. She didn’t have a ton of machines hooked up to her, but she did have a breathing mask on. The breathing mask was rather large, it was one worn by people who have very sensitive immune systems, and cannot afford any contact to outside infections. Her skin looked a yellowish color. Her arms were swollen because her body isn’t digesting water properly due to her kidney infection, so her water is being displaced elsewhere. This is also causing a mild dehydration. Just last week she was shopping for clothes with members of her retirement home at Wal-Mart. She was a vibrant member of her community, and was the president of her ward at the retirement community. She may not be have been able to walk, but she sure could move.
Worse than all of this, I can see how it is affecting my great grandfather, and my grandparents. My great grandfather lives with my grandparents, and has been declared incompetent by the Navy. Therefore, he needs care 24/7, and he could not stand to be at a nursing home. So, he happily stay with my grandparents. He is so tender when he is by my great grandmothers’ side. Touching her hair, whispering things in her ear to calm her down while the doctors try to run tests on her. Sixty-three years have created a bond between two souls that could not be broken, come hell or high water. My great grandmothers decline, and eventual passing will tear his soul apart. I dread the day when that news comes over my phone speaker, and into my mind.
Tonight was sobering in a way. It reminded me of how important family is, and how important it is to appreciate those that appreciate you. To anybody reading this, however few, take a moment to say “I love you,” or “Hey, thanks for being my friend.” You really do never know when those caring souls can be taken away from you. Life is far too fragile to be captured in momentary qualms, letting them sink into your being, and affect your attitude towards life. Love all, despite their feelings towards you, help everyone you can, despite their willingness. Most of all, have compassion towards others, for you do not know the road that they have traveled to get to where they are. Sometimes a caring soul is all they need to be okay.