Today it has been exactly one year since I have spend a day with my grandpa, the most important person in my life. One year ago, it was the day before he died, and for some reason I felt I wanted to spend my day with him. Still I’m extremely thankful for this. So thankful that I decided to leave work and spend my day with him, the day that turned out to be his second-last day. A day I still remember, like it was yesterday. A day I will never forget. A day with you, my dear grandpa.
You had decided to stop taking your medication, you had decided that it was enough, that your body was exhausted, used up, there wasn’t anything left to take you through one more week. We had the best conversations, all the conversations we needed to have. We had said everything to each other. But for me it just wasn’t enough, not yet. I wanted more time, so much more time, together with you.
I enter your room. You are asleep, with a full plate of breakfast in front of you, untouched. When I sat down on the chair next to your bed, you open your eyes. You are surprised, you asked me why I am not in the train, why I’m not on my way back home. I figure the painkillers they have started to give you, might have effected your memory. I figured they might be confusing you. We have an awkward conversation, in which I keep wondering what the painkillers had done to you, and you keep talking about impersonal things.
For the first time I feel a distance between us, a distance that has never been there, an awkwardness I have never experienced before with you. I was afraid I was too late, I was afraid the real you had already been gone. But then, when I was considering if I should stay, you suddenly recognized me, You grabbed my hand. Anna… Completely surprised and with tears in your eyes you ask me what I am doing here. I want to spend time with you my sweet Opa.
We talk. You still feel like you have to explain to me why it’s time for you to go. you still feel guilty for leaving me behind. But I get it. You have been fighting for so long, for too long. Now you are exhausted, your body is used up, there is nothing left. I know that if there would have been anything left you would never give up, you would keep fighting, you would continue. I understand that the time has now really come, time to say goodbye. But if I could, if you could, we would have so many more conversations, we would hold each other for so many more years.
I tell you about my work. I show you, once again, the projects I am working on. You are proud, a kind of unconditional proudness I only know from you. Filled with so much love. We talk about the gardens you used to have and this upsets you, you have spent so many years not being able to do what you love. I see you crying, really crying, for the first time, and while I cry with you, we comfort each other with our presence.
I notice how tired you are. How your eyes are closing but you keep refusing to fall asleep. You tell me sleeping is not what I came for, you tell me you don’t want me to leave, you tell me you’re afraid to be alone. But I will never leave you, not as long as the last train home did not leave yet. You fall asleep. I hold your hand and read a book. Together.
We spend the whole day together like this, I read, you sleep, we talk and laugh and I help you with whatever you need. I enjoy this day with you. I shows me how much we understand each other, how much we can enjoy to just be together, how much we can enjoy each others company.
In the afternoon grandma comes to visit you. I notice how you try to comfort her, how you use all your last bits of energy to pretend you’re still ok, how you try so hard not to worry her, how you still will do everything you can to take care of her. You love her so much, you do so much for her, and I love you for this. You are so strong.
After a dinner you did not eat and the tea you did not drink it is time for me to leave. I hug you, I kiss you, and you won’t let me go. You keep holding me close, you keep kissing me, you keep telling me how much you love me and how amazing I am. I love you so much. I will be back in the morning, just hold on till the morning. We can do this again, at least one more time.