Yesterday Husband, the FarmHands, and I loaded up and drove three hours to our North to visit with Grandma & Grandpa M&M. We wanted to see them, check out their new digs, and help QM with a few things at the old house as she's getting it ready for the final yard sale on Saturday.
I have not had the opportunity to go up to visit my grandparents at their house in the past year. I saw them in September at my brother's wedding and again a few weeks later when my cousin and his wife lost their baby. One very happy occasion, one anything but happy. I hate that we don't live closer to them. I hate that it's so hard for us to be able to pack up and drive up to see them. I hate that life in general comes between us.
Every time I go a few months without seeing them, I slip back into imagining them as the people they were when Husband and I were first married. I think of them as the couple who walked 2 miles every day. I think of them as the Church Elder and his wife who visited the shut ins and helped out the old ladies of the congregation who's children were to far away or couldn't be bothered. I think of my grandfather in his basement wood shop piddling around with some project or another. I think of my grandmother baking a cobbler early in the morning so the house won't get too hot in the day time. I think of yards of fabric laid out on the dining table as she cuts out a new suit for herself or a romper for a grandbaby. I think of them as busy, able, strong, capable, and fiercely independent.
In my mind, they're the couple who's moved into the assisted living apartments because they want to downsize, not because they're in need of assistance. They're the vibrant couple who visits with the old ladies shuffling down the halls, helping them with their laundry carts and taking them to hair appointments. They rarely eat at the cafeteria, preferring rather to cook their own meals in their postage stamp sized kitchen. They're rarely home because they are in high social demand in their new community.
Unfortunately, that is just not the case. They are old. That's not something I ever wanted to say about them, but there is simply no other way to put it. Inkling and I always used to say, "They're getting old," but "getting" is no longer the case. They're frailer each time I see them. More stooped each time I see them. Less able to get around and do for themselves than they were a few months back. It breaks my heart a little more each time.
I've stated before, and I won't quit saying it while it's still true, I am so very blessed. I have four living grandparents. They are all lucid and (to an extent) able to care for themselves. QM has stated that I collected grandparents as a child. I adopted neighbors, friends from church, cousin's grandparents, pretty much anyone over the age of 50 who wasn't nailed down. They all became my grandparents. I've lost some of them. I've lost many of them, but I've never lost a grandparent I collected simply by being born.
I know that this fact will not last long. I would love for it to be the case until the FarmHands are grown, but I fear that's asking too much.
Once the "old" house is emptied and officially in the hands of the young couple who bought it, and they are good and settled in in their new place, I pray that this move (& the end of the resulting stress) helps them to regain a part of their independence and an even bigger part of their lost heath. I want my grandparents to be mentioned by Willard Scott on their birthdays on The Today Show followed by a snippet like, "And he still eats bacon and eggs for breakfast every morning," or "And she still swims laps three times a week."