I felt like something needed to written to honor a marriage that has lasted almost 64 years. My Granny and Grampsy will have been married 64 years on May 21st. It's something that just brings admiration and awe when spoken of. In a time where 50% of marriages end in divorce, to hear of one lasting so long is almost shocking. But they are of a different generation and mindset and with that came some really long marriages that only ended with a trip to heaven. That will be the case with my grandparents and unfortunately may be sooner rather than later. My Granny has been rapidly declining with dementia. It's been a struggle and I could blog for pages on it, but ultimately what would come out of a blog like that is dementia sucks. Really really sucks.
Watching her decline has been hard but what has been really tough is watching my Grampsy deal with it. This blog is a tribute to him and his devotion as a husband to his wife who has sadly come to forget him most of the time. This is a tribute to the vows, in sickness and in health, that he has stood by and never wavered on.
When Granny first went into the hospital, we were at the beginning of the decline. She fell and had to be admitted, which seemed to be a traumatic enough experience to set those awful wheels of dementia into motion. We had already started seeing significant changes and as my aunt was relaying the unfortunate information to the doctor, regarding the anger and paranoia, my Grampsy very calmly made a comment about her still attempting the bridge game in the newspaper. It was said in a way that didn't seem to be trying to argue the information my aunt was giving but rather a glimpse into his loyalty to her. He knew everything my aunt was saying was true, but he still felt a need to be on team Granny and stick up for her, or just be on her side. It touched me. It could have easily been overlooked, but there was something about the tone and the way he touched her hand after saying it that just struck me. As I remember it, I don't even think he had any ulterior motives to that comment, that is just what comes with being married to someone for almost 64 years, and it was amazing to see.
Granny did come home, but it got very bad fast. I went to stay for a couple nights to try to provide some relief for the all night episodes they were experiencing. It was exhausting both physically and emotionally, but the one night I heard her yelling and I went in to check on her at 1:30am I found Grampsy sitting on the bed. She was calling for him, but couldn't register he was there and he just sat on the bed holding her hands, trying to calm her and saying "I'm right here Hon, Nancy you have to calm down and rest." He would stroke her hair and ear lobe and keep grabbing her hands, trying to soothe her. It was futile and he knew it, that is why he let me send him back to bed and I said I'd take over, but he still was in there when I got up, he still went to her, he still tried even though he knew it didn't help.
She has since been moved to a nursing home facility and he goes to visit her every day. He is 87 years old and still works at Kroger's, bagging groceries to stay active, but as soon as he gets off work he drives the almost 40 minutes to go sit by his wife, who is slowly forgetting him. But sit he does. Not for the conversation, or because he needs to, simply because he made a vow that he is choosing to keep, no matter how hard it might be on him. He married her when they were "kids" and they have been together almost 64 years. Because he loves her and wants to be with her. Because he is the epitome of a true husband and man.
I drafted this blog over 2 years ago and remember needing to walk away from it, because it was an emotional one for me. I have chosen to leave it alone, because I remember writing it with a lot of raw feeling for what was going on, I didn't want to loose that with edits, so I will provide the updates here. Sadly we lost Granny in April of 2013. She went peacefully and hopefully is in a place with all her beautiful memories that had left her in this world too early. I miss her all the time, but see her in the cardinals that will visit our yard from time to time. Grampsy will be celebrating his 90th birthday in August and still works 3 days a week at Krogers. He will be taking the Honor Flight this summer to commemorate his service in WWII and visits Granny's memorial every week. He is something else and I am a lucky girl to have him for a Grandpa, this one was written for him.