*Hello everyone. My apologies for forgetting to post yesterday. Upon thinking if I had anything at all to contribute to the subject of One Small Step I decided to share a small piece I wrote this past winter when I actually took a small step and enrolled in a writing course at the U of T. This piece is loosely based on an actual event between my son and his grand-parents and turned out to be all the more poignant because Grandpa died a few weeks later at the age of 96, making this truly his Last Trip. I hope you enjoy it and my small attempt at capturing a moment. And yes, small steps and big steps have been a part of my writing journey in the past but right now I find it most important to concentrate on the steps I can take now and so I hope to continue on this fall with other writing courses from the U of T and perhaps an Editing class from Simon Fraser University.
“Grandpa it’s time to go home.”
He shuffles his bag of bones body in his chair but gives no response.
“Heh Grandpa,” I repeat louder. “ I have to take you back. I have cows to feed.” I’d brought him out of the nursing home to visit grandma who lives in a different nursing home an hour away. It was against my better judgement to bring a ninety-six year old man on a road trip but how can you say no to two old people who may never see each other again?
At the mention of the word ‘cows’ grandpa’s almost sightless eyes meet mine; two grey, lifeless fish floating in a murky pool.
I feel my impatience rise. I change tactics.
“Grandma,” I say loud enough for her to hear as her purple, shawl covered back is turned to me, tidying up her over stuffed room. “Grandpa needs to go back now.”
She turns her head. Her wrinkled neck folds in on itself like an old accordion that grandpa used to play in church.
“Oh Evan. You’re still here? Oh….well I thought maybe Grandpa could…. spend the night?” Is that a blush creeping across her pink rouged face? I find myself surprised. Well, what the heck, maybe old people do still think of one another in that way. Still the very thought…sort of makes my stomach lurch a bit. I shake my head to rid the thoughts.
|Grandpa beside the old house where he was born on the farm|
“Grandma,” I try again, a little gentler this time. “He can’t. They’re expecting him back at the home by supper time.”
“I’m staying,” Grandpa speaks from his encampment in the corner. Sitting Bull, is all I can think. And grandma’s renewed passions haven’t helped either.
“Well, he’s not a prisoner there is he?” Grandma chimes in, her voice shaking slightly as it does when she’s feeling some indignity. “I mean, he does have a choice doesn’t he?”
Great, I think. Now I’m being ganged up on by two geriatrics. This could go on and on. I’ll never get out of here. Already I can hear the late night bellows of the cattle as I show up late to roll out the bales.
There are some very powerful word pictures here: "two grey, lifeless fish floating in a murky pool." Magnificent. I was also touched by the story itself.ReplyDelete
Thank you Tracy. I was stretched in my class to come up with unique descriptions so good to know it worked here. Thanks for reading.ReplyDelete
Wow, Gloria, such a tender account. As a guy who works in a couple of care facilities it moved me to read this post. I felt deeply for Grandma and Grandpa being separated and especially Grandma's desire for Grandpa to stay with her. This was all too real to me. I thank you for sharing this wonderful couple with us. I'm sure Evan is thankful for this visit. Thank you Gloria!ReplyDelete
There is a 'rest of the story' that I will have to share some time. There was a word count on my assignment but it involves Grandpa being bribed with a candy to go home and then refusing to bend his legs when Evan lifted him into the truck. I'm sure he knew it was his last visit to see Grandma. Sad but happy our son could be a part of it.Delete
The elderly are people too--this definitely comes through in your story. Thanks.ReplyDelete
Thanks Sharon. There is so much more to the story and many more stories I could share, but there was a word count and I thought this short encounter with my son said so much.Delete
Good job, Gloria. It's important to tell stories like this today. It raises awareness that the elderly continue to be viable human beings - their needs and desires just the same, and just as valid as we who are younger.ReplyDelete
I was always thankful that I had my grandma until I was in my late 40's when she passed away at age 97. I think it is so important to have a chance to know your grandparents. All of the disconnect in our society with the older generation has done it's damage.Delete
Violet Moore here - Totally captured me! Blessing the couple with a priceless gift; alluding to the fact that bodies grow old but it doesn't change who the person is; breaks ones heart over the necessary separation. .. dear friends of mine are in that place, grieving that there isn't a place where they can be cared for together.ReplyDelete
Grandma & Grandpa were apart for two years before he died. The last trip to visit her he did seem to sense that he wouldn't be coming back. It is definitely a sad situation.Delete