A personal story

When my grandpa was in the last stages of his life, he lost his eyesight. But nobody phrased it that way, they just said he “couldn’t see”. I’ve worn glasses since I was 12, and without them I can’t see. But of course, I can see without them, just not very well. So when they told me that my grandpa couldn’t drive anymore or get around very well because he couldn’t see, I understood it in the same context as my own vision. I assumed they weren’t buying him glasses because his time was near, and cancer is expensive.

But my grandpa, to the best of my knowledge, had two hobbies. He liked to sit on the porch swing and drink coffee, and he liked jigsaw puzzles. And he was dying, and I wanted him to have something to do that he enjoyed until he died. I didn’t want him to feel like he was an invalid, sitting around the house doing nothing. So I bought him a puzzle.

You can imagine my surprise when everyone stared. When my grandma started to shout, before my grandpa cut her off with a quiet “he meant well, let him be.” I think of this sometimes, and I usually laugh. At the absurdity, mostly, or to hide the pain if I think too hard about it. I wonder how much pain my gift caused. Did grandpa cry later when he thought about it? I’m sure grandma did. Probably my aunts, maybe my dad. Of course, tears were close to the surface then anyway. It didn’t take much to coax them out. Turns out they’re closer to the surface than I thought they were tonight.

Not too much of a point to this one, I just felt like sharing.

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