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“He Didn’t Even Make a Bump in the Covers”

My paternal grandpa, who used to be a strapping guy, a Purple Heart recipient, weighs 117 lbs in a hospital bed today. At 5'8" and formerly a solid 180 lbs, my mom described him by saying "he didn't even make a bump in the sheets."

My sister cried. I, being 18 hours by car away, haven't seen him in two years, and even through my first 23 years on this planet, I only saw him about 5 or 6 days per year. I don't know my grandpa, either of them, really, and that's confusing.

Nobody close to me has ever died, and I don't know that, when the day comes, the passing of my grandparents will strike too close to home. I don't know them that well. My maternal grandmother and I talk nearly weekly, but she's nearly the only person outside of my immediate family with which I stay in touch. We always lived 4 1/2 hours away from anyone else, which made that tough. It's almost like I'm not in the habit of communicating with them.

I sent a card today, but I felt like an asshole s it. How much of a jackass am I saying "get well soon" knowing I haven't seen him in two or three years? I feel like, if they slapped return to sender on the thing and sent it back, I'd deserve it. But I don't know the guy very well. I wish I did - I wanted/want to hear the stories he's got about his Purple Heart, about growing up when he did, about coming from Poland. That sort of stuff.

I feel a bit robbed - why didn't my family see them more often? 4 hours of driving isn't that high a price to pay, is it? There's absolutely nothing I can do to change the past, but I can attempt to remember this feeling, and apply it going forward.

I feel a bit empty today, and I don't know why. I mean, like I said, I don't know the guy very well. He's close to me by blood, but that's about all. Like I said: that's pathetic of me.

I at least hope he gets the card, and knows that the feeling is there, and my memories of him are grander than his current physical state. But like I said, I wouldn't blame him if he thought me a prick for s something as pathetic as a card in a situation like this.

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