Slice of Life: Holding On

This weekend was hard. It was hard for my kids to see their grandfather slip away.

Sitting in that room, gathered around they see glimmers of their papa. He rallies for a moment then goes back to sleep. My son rubs his eyes and puts his head down. My daughter looks at him, her eyes red and swollen. She holds his hand. There is no hiding the fact that recovery isn’t possible.  The road has been long; the deterioration has been slow.  The fact that they can’t reach him hits them hard.

Walking out to our cars, saying our goodbyes, my son stands at the gate, frozen. I hug him, holding back tears, willing myself not to cry, trying to be strong.

My daughter leans in; wipes her face on my shoulder unafraid to hold on and not let go.

My husband’s silly joke makes it possible to walk out the gate and go on.  What a gift he gives us by lightening the load with a laugh.

Seeing a person slip away, you can’t help but wonder, where’d they go. Are they there and we just can’t see them?

The hospice nurse says this is a part of the process, which doesn’t answer any questions that are swirling around us.

We go home and hold our breath waiting and wondering. Holding on and holding back.


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers Blog for a space to share ourselves as writers and teachers of writing. Read more slices here.

18 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Holding On

  1. I am remembering ten years ago when my own father-in-law slipped away. It is so hard to watch. But I also know without a doubt that once he was gone, there was a distinct peace (which passes understanding). God was there. And with you now. I pray you and your family will feel peace.

  2. Julieanne, I am holding you in my prayers today! You and your family. Saying goodbye is painful and hard and necessary. Your words brought me back to times when I’ve had to do it. Being together with your kids and your husband…hold onto each other. Sending lots of love and hugs and prayers!

  3. I’m sorry you have this to deal with. I have no experience with it but with my neighbor who died of cancer recently. Seeing how humor helps lift your spirits was one of my favorite parts that you shared. It really is a gift when times are difficult to bear. I hope by writing about it you will find solace as we all reach out to as we can.

  4. Julieanne,
    The circle of life is so powerful. We’re celebrating a birth, ever mindful that this is the 10th great grand for my mother. Every day is both a blessing and a gift . . .

    And yet, I have vivid memories of both my grandmothers passing when I was in college. Hold tight to those memories. Record them – orally or in writing. They will bring you and yours comfort! ❤

  5. Powerful feelings, those. I like to imagine that when we speak and write about someone, that is their spirit. Everything they’ve given us as memories is them carrying on forever. Blessings on all of you.

  6. This is oh, so hard. My father and my father-in-law were buried exactly a month apart. Watching someone slip away is never easy. Sending prayers and hugs to all of you.

  7. Oh, JulieAnne, I’m sorry for this. I can’t imagine. Your post really captures the sadness, the confusion, the grief. I am thinking of you all at this difficult time.

  8. These are the moments where family holds on to support each other when facing such a loss. My heart is heavy after reading your words. Reaching out with a virtual hug and keeping you in my prayers.

  9. My mother has been suffering from Alzheimers for 12 years now and she just started hospice. It is so difficult to see them slipping away. My thoughts are with you –your post hit close to home for me. I can see my family in your family. Laughing is a gift.

  10. You are in my thoughts and prayers. These are indeed hard days. I’m in another part of the country, in another town, in another family on a similar journey.

  11. The ache of letting go, of loss are palpable in this beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your joys and your sorrows. Holding you all a little closer.

  12. Julieann- This reminds me of my grandmother’s passing. You have found the right words and captured the feelings so beautifully. Prayers for your family.

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