Saying Goodbye to Grandfather

“We'll be fine,” my father told her.  “I can remember the way.”

We shambled off through drab, freshly painted corridors towards whichever room was my grandfather's.  The atmosphere was all wrong still and, if anything, the mild stench had deteriorated further to a pungent smell, but with the taste of the sweet still exploding around the inside of my mouth, these were facts I was only dimly aware of. And then we were waiting outside my grandfather's room.  My father bent down to look me in the eye, his expression suddenly more serious than I ever remembered having seen it before.

“Now, Calum,” he began.  “I want you to know that your grandfather is worse than I realized.  He took another turn yesterday morning and the nurse tells me he's pretty bad so I need you to be brave.  He might look different, he might act different, and he might not even remember who you are or who I am, but remember, whatever you see, he is your grandfather.  Okay?”

I nodded mechanically, suddenly fearful again, then my father opened the door and we stepped inside.

The first thing that hit me was the smell.  There was no hint of death here, only the scent of flowers, tulips I later found out.  The room was well-lit, tidy, and every surface looked spotlessly clean.  It was as if I had walked into an alien world.

But all this was nothing compared to the change I saw in my grandfather.  He too was spotlessly clean.  His clothes, a grey suit with white shirt and blue tie, were carefully ironed, his hair was neatly combed, and his skin. . .his skin had lost much of its greyness and was a scary shade of pale pink.  He was sat at a table with a deck of cards spread across its surface and opposite him sat a man, a human man!





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