My grandfather was 94 this week, and by all accounts is still managing to cause chaos on a regular basis. Nearly every weekend, I phone and catch up with one or more of my parents, and almost inevitably I’ll hear of some act of contrariness, determination, or slightly befuddled misapprehension that has brightened the day of my parents or his carers.
Whether it’s sneakily buying wine and hiding it in his room, refusing to allow staff to install sensors that would alert them if he fell in his room at night, eating far too many sweets and aggravating his diabetes, or being not only convinced this week that he is 95 and that it’s the year 2006, I’ve become used to hearing a certain note in my parents’ voices when they talk about him.
There’s a wonderful mixture of aggravation, love, and mentally counting to a reasonably high number that sings through, usually in a sigh as they recount the latest shenanigans. It does remind me that his time here is more markedly limited now, and I can only hope to be getting the same forbearance from Charleesi if I get to be his age.
I hope that doesn’t sound morbid, it’s not meant to be. I pride myself on the stubborn elements of my personality that delight in solving chaotic situations before throwing a metaphorical hand grenade back in. It’s almost informative to see these traits still persisting in my grandfather at his age – or perhaps that’s just me projecting a bit…