We drove down to Laguna Woods in Southern California to visit my grandfather today. (We = Mom, Dad, Kendrick and me.) Dad's white Highlander is a seriously uncomfortable car to sit in for long periods of time, and I ended up with such crick in my neck. We didn't leave San Jose until early afternoon, so when we finally parked on Grandpa's street it was past 10 pm. (I know that a lot of people can make the drive from San Jose to Los Angeles in five hours, but my parents aren't one of those people. My mother drives like a Chinese grandmother...which, given she's now in her mid-60s is acceptable, I guess, but we were going 45-50 mph the whole time and it made me want to cry.) I was so tired that I just wanted to crawl off to the hotel and pass out, but instead we sat around for an hour or so to chat. Lots of awkward pauses because everyone was so groggy. My grandfather is a wonderful man, full of a lifetime's worth of stories...and if you get him started, he'll move from one story to the next, very stream-of-conscious, and while it's very interesting it can be very difficult to keep the stories straight.
I can't even remember what he talked about now. Flying helicopters for the army in Greenland? Maybe?
So Grandpa started hospice care a few weeks ago and has weakened to the point where he now has to be on oxygen 24/7. I hadn't seen him in a while, but my mom said it made a huge difference because he wasn't stopping and coughing/gasping for air every few sentences. He hasn't been eating much, so he's lost a lot of weight, and he complained of a pain in his elbow. We're not sure much longer he'll be around - his deterioration has been pretty steady, unfortunately, so that's part of the reason this visit is so important. For some of the members of my family (me, maybe my brother) this weekend could very well be the last time we see him.