It has been a tough few years for my family. Just a couple of weeks before the Christmas of 2008 my grandparents were involved in a serious car accident.
I can only imagine the painful memories the accident would have brought back to my Grandma. She almost lost her life many years ago (well before I was born) in a car accident. She was cut open from her chest to her groin, had her spleen removed and was in hospital for several weeks recovering.
That Christmas my Grandad was still in hospital while my Grandma was with the family. I’ll never forget the image of her with those two huge, painful looking black eyes and the pain she was in due to her fractured ribs.
Due to his injuries, he required 24-hour care. All while this was going on, my Grandma was staying with my Aunty and her boyfriend. It was too painful for my Grandma to go back to her house and be there without Grandad. We sold my grandparent’s house and my Grandad was moved into a nursing home.
While my Grandad didn’t have a choice in the matter, my Grandma wasn’t so happy about the decision. She was always so self-defiant that they would never move into an aged-care facility. And up until the accident they had no reason to.
Her whole life turned upside down, and she knew it would never been the same again. There was her husband of 60 plus years, heavily medicated to the point that he recognised no one. The person who she knew as her husband was gone. She knew going in there would mean she wouldn’t see all her friends. She wouldn’t be able to go out whenever she wanted, she would never travel again.
Easter Sunday of 2009 my Grandma suffered a massive heart attack at the kitchen table. One moment she was laughing with my Aunty and the next she was dead.
I truly believe she died of a broken heart.
In a way we’re lucky to have had Grandad with us these last few years. It was quite possible that he could have died from his injuries. While he was beginning to lose his memory, his cheeky personality never waned. He’ll forever be affectionately known as Bert the Flirt.
If there’s anything I will take from them is to live life to the fullest. They loved being active, spending time with their friends, travelling across Australia and gardening. Most of all they loved spending time with their family. When their great-grandchildren were born you couldn’t wipe the smiles from their faces. They were loved by so many.
Just over a week ago my grandfather passed away in his sleep. Suffering from aspirated pneumonia, there was little doctors could do for him except medicate him to make him comfortable.
As much as I wanted to go visit him one last time, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. With how my mum described him, he looked nothing like the man we loved so dearly. I didn’t want to witness his bloated appearance and his inability to communicate coherently. I decided that I wanted to remember him on Christmas Eve when he was in good health, surrounded by his family.
I miss my grandparents calling me Stacie Michelle.
I miss the dirty jokes they used to tell.
I miss my Grandmother’s unique laugh.
It’s heartbreaking that he is gone, but now he can be reunited with his one true love.
Bert and Joyce…dancing in heaven.