Starting over at 89

I spent the evening with my grandpa tonight. He’s less than two weeks into a new life – living alone. This, after 67 years of marriage.

As I sat with him on the couch, I realized I’d hardly talked to my grandpa over the last several years. Not because I didn’t want to, but because communication is so hard. His doctor says he only has 10% of his hearing, which I believe is a generous estimate. Especially when his quiet granddaughter is the one speaking. 🙂 And up until lately, I’ve always talked to my grandma, who could hear better than I could.

I’m here to abate his loneliness, but how does one do that if she can’t be heard?

Easy. You listen. I asked my grandpa to help me figure out some cords on the piano – no talking involved, just playing.

Then, I asked him about his favorite memories, and he delved into some amazing stories about the time that actually cost him his hearing. He spent years aboard a ship in the Navy during World War II. He says when the guns went off, the boys lost their hearing for a few days. “We never thought anything of it, because it always came back eventually.” Until he was 89, and suddenly it stopped coming back. Ok, not suddenly. But you get the idea.

We relived memories of my grandparents’ courtship. He told me about their first date to see his grandmother, and they drove back his inherited car and got 5 flat tires. He told me about his first grade classroom.

He may not be able to remember who was supposed to come visit him tomorrow, but he remembers meeting the love of his life, dating tons of girls at camp, and carving pumpkins with a three-year-old me. You know, the important stuff.

 

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