September. 1st, 1984
The first real entry in a journal I’ve been meaning to start for at least the past several years.
It is near midnight and I am quite tired, having gotten little sleep last night and the monotonous 4-hour trip to my grandmother’s here in Mogadore, Ohio, a suburb of Akron.
My grandfather is not well having had a stroke 2 years ago his health has steadily declined. Today I saw him again for the first time in a month and a half.
I approached the home he is staying in with another man and two women with considerable dread.
I don’t think I quite have the hang of this journal thing yet.
But I tried to steady myself against my fear by viewing it as a completely unique experience that, as a writer, I should embrace. All kinds of mad fears flooded my thoughts as we (my father, Aunt Eileen, and I) ascended the stairs to his room. What if he has just now died? What if he dies in our presence? These thoughts disgust me now, but nevertheless these were my feelings at the time.
We passed through the room adjacent to my grandfather Marvin’s to see an old man in a white hospital smock sitting asleep, his head lolling to one side.
When I saw the horribly thin frail creature sitting in a chair staring at the television I was shocked. It was very much like seeing a completely different person and it took me some time for me to fully feel that this was Grandfather. He has lost conservatively 20lbs (current weight 135lbs??) because he eats next to nothing. Whether he is unable or unwilling or simply uncomprehending, I don’t know. His false teeth and his glasses do not fit him because of his weight loss.
When asked by Aunt Eileen what he would like he replied, “Ice cream”. Ice cream is one of the few things he really seems to want and enjoy.
When he spoke today it was in a barely audible whisper. It was very difficult to get his attention or to keep it for very long when speaking. Dad tried to make him promise to eat something for him and it was a considerable time before he recieved any acknowledgement at all.
Grandma who had come in the same car with Dad and I did not come upstairs until after Aunt Eileen and we had spent some time with Grandfather.
As Grandma entered the room she cried and I think Grandpa might have cried a bit as well. The two of them, at that moment (as Grandma had his hand in hers) reminded me of two battered weary adventurers just trying to ride the storm out to its end.