Here With Me

I remember my grandfather’s decline,
His slow but steady decline,
This honorable, moral man,
A role model,

During my younger years he often called me,
As if trying to rebalance our relationship,
Having favored my older sister,
My more compliant,
Less troubled sister.

When my grandmother died,
On our way to the cemetery
He told me they both agreed she should go first,
A pact without the power of choice,
Silently resolved to meet again somehow.

Episodes of confusion crept into his daily life.
His daughter hired a caregiver
To do the things that became too hard,
This once rigorous man losing his rigor,
His self-reliance.

An assortment of medications
Causing angry outbursts of unmoored emotions,
Personality changes.
Demons gaining ground
On the weary angels of his being.

And here I sit with my morning coffee
Wearing my grandfather’s robe,
Wondering how many days I have left.
I hear the tik-toking of his Regulator clock
Counting down.

Grandfather is here with me this morning,
Telling me about his boyhood on the farm,
The lamb he brought into his bedroom
To shield it from the storm.

Soon, he finally answers. Soon.

~ Russ Allison Loar
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