still life

Sorry if I haven’t been in touch in the past month, I’ve been occupied, I’ve been watching my grandfather die of Lewy body disease.

Slowly he lost the power of language, and so it seems did I.

I always remember saying goodbye for the last time. I remember the last time I said goodbye to my grandmother, also in the Oromocto hospital, in a room just up the hall. I remember the last time I said goodbye to Robin and it is a film that plays over and over in the back of my mind.

I’ve been saying goodbye to my grandfather for a few weeks now so it has all blended into one long goodbye, as the skin stretched tighter over his skull and his eyes grew paler and his hand rose from the bed to point at things that weren’t there.

Friday night they called the family into the hospital. Saturday they pulled a bunch of gunk out of his throat, cleared the airways. It seemed as though he’d stabilized although he wasn’t really conscious all day.

Today I said goodbye as it feels like I have said goodbye and goodbye. In the afternoon I laid my hand on his smooth forehead, still warm as he breathed the room into ragged peace.

On my back to Chipman I drove past his place, “up home,” right alongside Route 10.

I got back here and posted that photograph. And a couple hours later came the phone call.

You’d think I would’ve felt some slight sense of release, but no. I felt heavy and a little sick to my stomach.

The world just became an emptier place.