Last week, the kids and I dropped everything and drove 16+ hours to Franklin, PA with my parents in two different cars to assist with my grandfather, Pop Pop’s, future.
He was by the court system in April for observation after it was determined that he may not be able to care for himself any longer. The courts had to get involved because my grandfather is an extremely private, stubborn and independent man who does not believe he needs a guardian.
A week ago today, there was another hearing to determine his future. The hospital had determined officially that he has dementia (something I’ve thought all along) and that it will only progress worse. This diagnosis joins a host of other medical issues he has. In the end, it was determined that his three children (my dad and his two sisters) would be his guardians and that he would move to Kansas and live with my parents. This was not taken well by my Pop Pop, initially.
So, a week later, we’ve survived the three days of cleaning up his life in Pennsylvania, driving two days to Kansas and the first two days of his new season here. Our new season.
And so far so good, I am pleased to report.
My grandfather’s condition had often times led to him being verbally abusive, non-trusting and even paranoid of people, my father in particular. During our first sit-down visit with him, things got a little heated. McKinzi was there to hear everything. Later that night, I took her aside and let her know that if she had any questions about anything that happened, to just let me know. She said she didn’t have any questions, but that she did have some things to say. In a nutshell, her little eight-year old mind was so observant and perceptive. She grabbed onto, in those few minutes, so easily the issues that have been plaguing our family and extended family in the seven years since my grandmother passed. I was amazed at how grown up my little girl seemed in those few moments.
I was awestruck when at the end she asked to pray for my grandfather and my father and his sisters. I was dumbstruck when she asked to lead the prayer. So standing there in the lobby of a tiny family restaurant, me and my big girl knelt on our knees and I heard one of the most beautiful prayers ever uttered. Beautiful not because of the eloquence of the words, but because my daughter saw a moment, saw people who needed no other than God’s help and she went on her knees to the only One who can do the healing.
I prayed a lot on the drive out to Pennsylvania. I did a lot of praying during our visitation with my grandfather. I prayed even more while the hearing was occurring and I couldn’t stop praying once it was determined he was going to come home to Kansas. But I think it was the prayers of one little eight-year old that was heard the most.
Because so far, there has been some healing. There is still obviously a long road to go, new routines to work out, a new normal for everyone, and of course my grandfather will likely not get better. But things are going far better than I believe anyone anticipated, and I have to include myself.
My grandfather is certainly enjoying being around the kids. I can’t wait for him to meet my nieces Ella and Anna and to meet my nephew Jake who is due next month. To be around such happiness surely has to be breathing new life into him. The girls were so excited he was moving back here with us that they wrote him letters and cards and have been so good about helping him move around. Tucker can’t stop saying Pop Pop as though he’s known him all his life.
I know the last seven days can’t erase all of the hurt of the last seven years nor can it dim the memory of the last sixty years. Us grandkids have great memories of our grandfather. But we have come to learn over the last few years that we were shielded from a lot of the not-so-nice things, as well. But I’m praying that for the rest of the time we’re granted to spend with Pop Pop, our opportunity to build some new, better memories will exceed our highest expectations. Because God can do anything, and I was reminded about that this week by McKinzi.