Wednesday, July 17, 2013


My grandparents have been boaters for essentially my entire life. I was a toddler when they closed the small bookstore that they owned and bought a sailboat. Trading in one dream for another.

I grew up on that boat. Well, that boat and the several that proceeded it. Grandpa upgraded a few times. Always a boat that was a little bigger, with a little bit more space. Better to fit in his growing grandchildren.

Every summer, we would go on a trip or two. Grandma and Grandpa would take us somewhere fun. Somewhere we could swim and eat ice cream and maybe play a round of putt-putt golf and spend the night out on the boat. As we got older, our trips got longer. There were several amusement parks that we could sail two within a few days. That was the best.

I haven't been on an overnight trip in a handful of years, but I make the effort to get out to the boat once a summer. It makes Grandma and Grandpa so happy. They can show us off to the other boaters in their marina. We can have an afternoon on the water just like so many we had when we were kids.

I don't know if I'll get out to the boat this summer.

I might have sailed with Grandma and Grandpa for the last time. 

Grandpa is having a hard time this summer. He wouldn't admit it. He would blame everyone else. But twice this summer he's ran the boat aground. They get stuck. They have to get towed out. He's an asshole to everyone: the towing company, my grandma, everyone else on the boat. But it's his fault.

It's not safe for him to sail anymore.

My grandpa is in the earliest stages of dementia.

He lives for that boat.

But my grandma can't compensate for him. She can't do it all and she was sobbing when she called my mom to tell her about their latest mishap. Grandpa was awful. They didn't get back to the marina until 2:00 am. She doesn't know what to do.

It's hard to watch this. It's hard to see it happening. It's hard to know that this is only going to get worse. And it's hard to think that I sailed for the last time and I didn't even know it.


Mummy Dearest said...

My heart breaks for you. Watching your grandparents age, sometimes poorly, can be so terrible. I never cherished the times with my grandparents until I was older, and the clock was ticking. Every time I saw them I knew it could be our last time together.

I know it doesn't help when I tell you that you are lucky you have so many years with them. But I would trade all the money in the world for my grandparents to be a part of my life now.

Each moment is fleeting. But you have them. And you are blessed. So are they.

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