All I Have

My grandmother is in the hospital.

She is elderly and frail and her body has begun to succumb to her age.

It is hard to think she is fading a bit each day but so much harder to see it through the eyes of her son, my dad.

I hear it in his voice when we talk, the tug of sadness in his words.

When we hang up the phone I am always left wishing I could do more.

But no matter what I do, the situation is still the same and I can’t lessen his growing sadness.

We drove down to visit yesterday.  Leery of parading my noisy troops through the hospital, we met my dad in the lobby.

As he stepped off the elevator, the kids let loose from my grip and shouts of “Papa!” echoed from the walls.

My dad’s grandchildren ran to him with arms wide open, crossing the length of the hospital lobby, shouting his name.

I watched him bend down and brace himself as his arms filled with my babies.

They hugged him tighter, longer than usual, as the smile came back into his eyes.

He turned towards the open hallway, happier than I had seen him in days,

hanging on to all I have to give.

toddler and grandpa



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  1. Traci says

    Thanks, it does suck. It’s so nice that your dad has you(and your kids) to help get him through these tough days. I’m sure he loves when you come by.

  2. Traci says

    Just think, you were leery of even bringing them. I’m sure that was the best part of his whole day. You shouldn’t think that you can’t do anything for him, look what you did this day. My dad passed a year ago. He too was Papa. Reading this makes me miss him so much. I’m so sorry you are going through this.

  3. The Anecdotal Baby says

    I’m so sorry to hear. I feel the pain, as I lost my father’s mother a week after my dads tragic death, his father a year later, and my only grandmother is currently ailing. I, too, watched my dad struggle with his fathers stroke before my dads death and it’s crushing when you have no power to take the hurt away. Sounds, though, like your children do that for him even if it’s just for a moment before he remembers the hurt of his ailing mother… it’s those moments that count! *Hugs*
    The Anecdotal Baby recently posted..Have Boobs, Will Travel

  4. says

    It always amazes me how the twinkle of life in a childs eyes and smile can be the perfect reminder that joy is still available and hope hangs on. Wishing you joy and hope in the tough moments now and ahead.

  5. says

    This is so special. Both of my grandfathers were excellent, delightful even, with little kids. Such a shame they both passed before I had a baby. I find relationships like this so special. And your words are so beautiful.
    Jen Has A Pen recently posted..Blow Me, Bagel Boy.

    • says

      I feel the same about my grandpas, neither of them met my little ones and I can only imagine how much they would have loved them.

  6. says

    I know that our children can bring such joy to people when they are hurting. My grandmother passed a few weeks after Donut was born. I remember feeling incredibly sad and lonely as I rocked her alone in my house, too far away and too icy to be with my family. I think we all took a special comfort in the new life of my baby girl to cheer us on.
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently posted..Oh, I Would Never…

    • says

      Wow, dealing with such a loss right after a birth had to have been so difficult but at the same time I’m sure your new baby helped you through it.

  7. Courtney Kirkland says

    I could so clearly picture that moment because my son is the same way with my dad. It’s hard living 5600 miles away, but they light up when they get to Skype with him. Praying for your family!
    Courtney Kirkland recently posted..52 Faces | Week Three

  8. says

    I vividly remember my 8-month old nephew crawling down the hallway of my grandfather’s assisted living home, where we held a small reception after his funeral – Marlow was crawling toward his mom and laughing this crazy maniacal laugh that none of us had ever heard before and it completely CRACKED us up. And there, among all the sadness surrounding my granddad’s death, my parents, my brother, and I stood and genuinely, even joyfully, laughed. Children just seem to have that effect – they shine their light on even the bleakest situations.

    My thoughts are with your grandmother. I’m so sorry she’s not doing well.
    Kristin @ What She Said recently posted..Blogus Interruptus

  9. says

    By the time I met my wife, I had lost all of my grandparents . . . and soon after she & I got married, she lost her last one.

    Grandparents are so, incredibly, wonderful. I really, really wish my kids could have met mine.


    While the end is always hard, it does sound like she knows that she’s well-loved, which is all I hope for, myself, when the time comes.
    John recently posted..Where I write about strippers, and Spongebob, and free beer

  10. says

    Your words are so beautiful. I’m sorry to hear about your grandma, it has to be a tough time for everyone. I’m so glad that your children brought the light into your dad’s heart when he needed it the most.
    Barbara recently posted..Pure Joy

  11. says heart. Thinking of you and your family my friend. I know that I love the smiles that my children bring lots of my family….sometimes I am just grateful for their pure existance..the fact that we got them here…and they are a joy for my family. I saw that in your words….thinking of you.xo
    Kir recently posted..Capturing 4

  12. says

    This post really touched me. I am so sorry to hear about your Grandmother, and I am praying for your family. That is the hardest thing to go through, as I have watched my Mother go through it with my Paw Paw. So glad you could bring some joy to your Dad,even if just for the moment during such a tough time. Thank you for commenting on my post, and I am so glad I found your amazing blog. It means so much that you are going to take that step to protect your children by securing that dresser. You know sometimes the lighter pieces of furniture still do massive damage. The dresser that fell on Brooke was not all that heavy:) Hugs to you and I will be praying for your family during this difficult time, Laurie

  13. Nancy Percha says

    I have to say, this is beautiful Jessica.And yes, there is nothing more important in a grandparents life than their grandchildren.It is a the greatest love I have ever experienced. You want to protect them from everything, and they give such unending joy, and trust you toally to fix everything.. I think it is something everyone should experience. That amazing wonderful love between grandchildren and grandparents.

  14. says

    This made me cry because my mom is going through a hard time right now and it’s like on some level my kids know. They run to her and hug her and shower her will love and kisses. She says they know just what to give her when she is feeling her worst.

    Oh the love of a child is such an amazing thing.
    Jen recently posted..Un-Child Proofing

    • says

      I completely agree, we spent the whole day with them after that and the kids seemed to need my dad more than usual, one of them was always tagging along behind him and asking him to play… just what he needed. Hope things get better for your mom soon, she is in my thoughts.

  15. says

    This: “as his arms filled with my babies” makes my heart full. My babies are so lucky to have the grandparents that they do – I couldn’t have hand picked better ones.

    I am so sorry that you and your family are going through this. My paternal grandmother was (one of) the most influential figures in my life and one day (too soon) she will no longer be here.

    I don’t know what I will do without her, I don’t know who I will be without her, but what I do know is that she will always open her arms wide so that my babies can fill them.
    Maija @ Maija’s Mommy Moments recently posted..An Open Letter to My Step Mother

  16. says

    Hugs to you my friend. And even though he doesn’t know me, tell your Dad he’s in my thoughts (and the thoughts of countless other bloggers, too). I am so glad that he has the love of his grandchildren to help lift his spirits.

    I don’t know if reading the words of others who have been through the same thing help him, but if they do, here’s my post about getting ready to say goodbye to my Dad: And the one about time spent at the hospital, waiting for my mother-in-law to pass:
    Varda (SquashedMom) recently posted..Monday Listicles: 10 Things I Said I’d Never Do

  17. says

    This made me sob. My grandma is still at her house, but there are many similarities to our situation. I know my kids cheer my dad up in a way nothing else does lately.

    I’ll be keeping your grandma (and dad) in my thoughts.

    • says

      It really is amazing what our kids can do for their grandparents isn’t it? I always knew my kids made them happy but watching that moment made me realize just how much.

  18. Kristen says

    My heart goes out to your family. I watched my grandmother take her last breath while holding my dad and aunt’s hands. My dad is not a man of emotion. He held strong until he saw my girls the next day. They too ran to him with open arms yelling “Papa” just as your children did and that is when he broke…in a good way. Their honest, pure love let him release some of the sadness and helped bring a smile to his face.
    Kristen recently posted..A Bad Day at The Salon…

    • says

      I’m so glad I can bring a smile from my kids, they also created their own rock band a few hours later at my parents house. Nothing like a little deafening music to make you feel better.