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What to do for dying grandfather?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Unibomber, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. Unibomber

    Unibomber Member

    Found out my gramps is terminal with lung cancer and has 6 months to a year to live. No chemo or radiation for him as it will only maybe gain him a couple months and it will be hell.
    So, my family is obviously trying to figure out how to deal with it all.
    One thought was to have a big party for he and grandma's anniversary next month to get everyone together, but we don't want to have an obvious, "We are all here cause we heard you are dying," party.
    I have thought about penning a letter to him to explain to him what he means to me, but, again, this seems a bit macabre. On the other hand, I would rather share my thoughts with him personally instead of waiting to talk about him at his funeral.
    Any suggestions from those who have been through similar situations?
     
  2. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    Do the party. Make it a surprise party if you must.
    And write down whatever comes to mind. It will be carthartic for you, and it will provide a a positive memory for everybody.
    Along those lines, I offer this: The underrated part of hospice care is the positive impact it has on the survivors. Hospice patients die, but their loved ones (presumably and hopefully) live on and appreciate the work.
     
  3. bumpy mcgee

    bumpy mcgee Well-Known Member

    When my grandfather was given the terminal bill, we asked him if he could do anything in the world one last time what would he want to do.
    All he wanted to do was play one last round of golf. We rushed to the store and bought a Wii and Tiger Woods Golf.
    He missed a chance to play St. Andrews when he was in Scotland about 20 years ago, so you should have seen his face when he finally got to play "The Old Course."
     
  4. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    just visit with him. LISTEN to him. and LEARN from him.
     
  5. waterytart

    waterytart Active Member

    Have the party. Many older folks are pretty matter-of-fact about their own mortality. If so, he'll be glad you decided to gather everyone. If he's more comfortable with denial, then he won't acknowledge this diagnosis as an underlying reason for the party. He'll just enjoy it as a party.
     
  6. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Just be the best grandson (and family) you can be, ask him if he wants to do anything special, throw the party and boogie on, ask him about his experiences, and live life to the fullest.
     
  7. Wenders

    Wenders Active Member

    Visit him as much as possible. My grandparents died when I was a lot younger than you and I regret the fact that I wasn't old enough to grasp what all they lived through in their lifetimes. I never got to sit and pick their brains.

    So make a list of the things you want your grandfather to tell you about. Take your recorder, and record your conversations so years down the road, you can play them for your kids.
     
  8. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    Let him lead the way. You know him better than any of us (duh). If he's the kind of guy who would appreciate the attention of a big party, then by all means. If you think he'd think it was a de facto funeral, or if he's not a big party guy, then don't.

    The best thing you can do for him might be to lead the rest of the family towards his wishes. Too many times, people want to ride herd and establish the celebration/mourning process in their image, but it's gotta be about him. Rein in, to the best of your ability, the people who want to make it about them.

    As for the letter: Assuming you're a journo, then writing is clearly the best way to hash out everything for you, and you should do it. It might seem a little macabre at first, but maybe later when he's made his peace with it, it won't seem so dark. You certainly don't want to miss the chance when he's still with you.
     
  9. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    Winners.
     
  10. bagelchick

    bagelchick Active Member

    One of the neat things my mom did when her father was dying was tape record him telling the family stories. You don't have to be obvious about it, but it sure is nice to have his voice on tape!
     
  11. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    I'd talk to him and tell him how you feel about him and how much you love him. I imagine he knows this, but if you have the opportunity to tell him, you should. I know my Mom knows how much I love and admire her, but I never got to tell her, at least while she was lucid. In my/our defense, nobody in the family wanted to say such things b/c nobody wanted to believe she was going to die and nobody wanted to be the one who got HER thinking she was going to die (though I'm pretty sure she knew she wasn't getting better).

    I can't say I'm haunted by never telling my Mom how I feel about her, but I wish I had nonetheless. Take the chance, if you have it, to tell your grandpa. Even if he's an old-school guy who shrugs off heart-to-hearts, I imagine it will bring him great joy and peace to hear your words. Good luck and good thoughts to you and your family.
     
  12. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Echo all the above: Have the party, and tell (or write) him how you feel.

    My last memory of my grandfather, besides the funeral, of course, is the big Christmas party we had at my aunt's house a few months before he died. After dinner, we ALL stayed at the table, or stood around it, and asked him to tell his stories about Guadalcanal and his days in the Marine Corps. I don't think we got up for three hours. We all knew it'd be the last time everybody would be together with him (cancer had to go to a TKO to beat him, but it finally did.)

    I've heard those stories a hundred times over the years. But hearing them that last time, knowing it'd be the last time, was just like hearing them 100 more times.

    So, take advantage of the time you have left. And (sorry if this is harsh): make your peace with his death now; don't wait until he's gone. That way, you'll better appreciate his presence, while he's still here.
     
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