losing a grandparent

The boyfriend’s 92-year-old grandmother is not doing well.  She was moved to Hospice (in status only, the hospital isn’t comfortable physically moving her to the Hospice area) as of this morning.  She was revived after having a heart attack.  The boyfriend is coping well – at least what he is showing me. 

I have lost all four of my grandparents.  Death has been something that has always been around in my family.  From a young age I can remember going to funerals and rosary’s (which I believe is also known as a wake…funny…they aren’t going to wake up, and those attending are sometimes like walking zombies) as early as 5.  Neighbors, family friends, spouses of a family member, aunts, uncles, family members of close friends, and grandparents.  I am not afraid of death, and I am not uncomfortable with death.

My first grandparent died when I was only a year and half.  I never knew him.   The next grandparent to die was my mother’s mom.  She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the late 80’s – no small feat.  I was in high school when she died, and it was…numbing.  I remember the funeral, the gravesite ceremony and the ‘after party’.  The third grandparent, my father’s mother, died while I was in high school as well.  It wasn’t long before my 18th birthday that she died.  It was incredibly painful and heartbreaking.  There is a very long story that goes with this death…but saved for another day. 

the final grandparent to leave this world was two years ago.  My mother’s father – aka, Scotty.  He lived the longest of all my grandparents and without question was the most healthy.  And at that…he wasn’t that healthy. 

I have always been on the sympathy end.  Everyone has usually been sending me condolences – offering to help and support me.  And anyone that knows me…knows I am never one to accept help, and I don’t do well with emotional stuff.  SO…this is a new venture for me. 

What do you say?  What do you do when words aren’t enough?  How do you help?

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