I Miss My Grandparents
by James Danco
(Bridgewater, NJ, USA)
I lost my maternal grandparents 13 and 14 years ago, just before I turned 8 and 9. I miss them and still think about them a lot, and I often wish I could have known them longer because my mom always says they were such wonderful parents to her. They actually died exactly a year apart to the day (May 10, 2000 and May 10, 2001). A lot of my memories of them were when they were sick, but I remember my grandfather reading to me and playing catch with me and my grandmother joking with me. Unfortunately both got very ill around the same time, with my grandfather getting Alzheimer's which caused him to get very confused and have very bad memory loss, and he also got emphysema. My grandmother got Parkinson's Disease which caused her to deteriorate rapidly as well, and she had dementia along with it and hallucinated a lot, talking with people even though nobody was in the room. They got someone to take care of them in their home who was wonderful (her name was Olga) and then eventually also had Center for Hope Hospice for my grandfather as he was dying. He eventually passed away of congestive heart failure at the age of 88. After that my grandmother started getting a lot worse and could barely move or talk or swallow and lost all her hair. She finally went into a coma and then died exactly one year later to the day at the age of 82. It was a very sad time in my family and is still a hole that will never be replaced.
I knew my dad's mom the longest out of my grandparents (my dad's dad died of a heart attack in 1990 before I was born at the age of 76). We visited her pretty frequently and I always looked forward to it. She was a wonderful grandmother and showed me so much love and was always so proud of me. She was a great cook as well and loved hearing me play the piano. However, even she eventually started deteriorating by the time I was a teenager and had multiple strokes and kidney failure (and refused dialysis), and had to move into an assisted living place. We visited her every Sunday and her mind was still completely there which was great, but she got increasingly more and more depressed and eventually refused to go out with us anywhere because she couldn't walk at all after she suffered a fall. She passed away pretty suddenly on September 28, 2007 when I was 15, a sophomore in high school. I wasn't expecting it at all so it was a devastating blow, and to this day I still miss her greatly. I played a song on the piano at her funeral. I miss all my grandparents and am a little jealous of people who still have theirs. All I can say is cherish every moment you have with them because you never know when it might be your last.