I haven't been around much lately. Beyond the annual crazy that are final exams, to which I've become perversely addicted, I was juggling documents and papers to take a couple of kids to another country as their companion. I was managing. I still read like possessed, and even took time to put the house into order before leaving for the holidays.

 

Of course some deity had to have a good laugh.

 

The dreaded phone in the night. Damn cliché. Grandpa had a stroke. Non lethal, by mercy, but it scrambled his brains well and good. Mom and brother practically living with him in the hospital because he would try to pull out his IV and leave, not recognize them, get angry, restrains having to be put and then taken because his blood pressure would sky-rocket. A nightmare. I rushed my end-terms, left my finals for some other time and took the first train home, cat in tow, and into the trenches.

 

It's been exhausting. And sad, and maddening, and emotional. Sisyphean: that's the word. And maybe now I get some of that Camus treatise, because there was something more in the endless struggle: this sense of illumination. Because in the moment I saw him in that hospital bed, small, sallow, unable to recognize me or have a coherent conversation, just a husk of my grandfather, I knew he had loved us so much, that we had loved him so much, that even if he could never recognize us, or talk with us, again that love would hold, would go over and through and keep in us unchanging.

 

I washed him, I fed him, I changed his diapers and his beddings, saw him improve a bit, and go back, had to ask for restrains, had to sedate him, think of how to cope after the hospital said go, hope. And through it, even while trying to reason with him so I wouldn't have to tie him to a bed, I loved him. So fiercely. I didn't know that was possible. I knew I loved him. I knew of love beyond, as some theoretical movie/book thing. But to KNOW, to experience. I didn't know I had it in me. It's funny: I somehow knew my brother did. And boy, did he prove it. He taught me all when I arrived.

 

Mom is an only child, she was expected to shoulder her old parents alone, so I'm glad it held till we could be old enough to help. Granma is... a very, very difficult person.

 

So there we have been, taking turns, watching grandpa slowly improve (and he has, nail-pace, but God, God, God), now at home. It's still grueling, leave time will end, and finances are a mess, but we are managing to slot time to let my brother work, and mom is a school-librarian, so she has summer off and...

 

And damn it, but I don't quite know why I'm posting this. I didn't mean to go this much into it.

 

Anyway, I'll be mostly off-line some more weeks. Have a very merry Christmas, and a joyful New Year. We will too. Very love-filled.