Remembering Grandparents

It’s been twelve years since my paternal grandfather, George Forrest Sullivan, passed away. My grandmother, Marge, passed the following year. Neither had much in the way of funerals, and I was out of the state at the time anyway. This weekend, while I recovered from my second COVID vaccination, we went to visit their site at the Tahoma National Cemetery columbarium. I brought flowers.

George and Marge Sullivan Grave - Tahoma National Cemetery
Wall T, Row A, Column 81.

I didn’t have a close relationship with either of my dad’s parents. I never got the sense my grandpa liked us much, although I loved visiting his house on Mercer Island and playing in the basement. My sister and I didn’t have a basement growing up, and we reveled in the level of chaos we were allowed to engage in down there. I remember thinking nothing had changed in his house since the 1960s, except maybe the little chess set he had out to play chess puzzles. Continue Reading >>

Grandma Sullivan

Day’s Verse:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

Grandma Sullivan just passed away. She seemed fine yesterday; this morning, she didn’t respond when the family home workers tried to wake her up; in the ER, they found she had pneumonia and gave her antibiotics, which caused her blood pressure to drop too much.

Goodbye, Grandma. I wish I’d gotten to know you when you were you, and not schizophrenic.

Update on Grandma Sullivan

Day’s Verse:
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
1 Cor. 15:11

Grandma Sullivan, my dad’s mother, was unresponsive on Friday morning when her caregivers tried to rouse her. Emergency personnel immediately rushed her to the hospital, where doctors immediately put her on “full code,” including intubation and going on a ventilator. Full code means the healthcare people do absolutely everything possible to keep her alive. Friday the doctors found a massive infection, which they treated with high doses of antibiotics. Yesterday evening, Grandma had perked up a little bit, woken up, was saying she wanted to eat something, and we figured she would eventually recover. Then in the middle of last night, Grandma’s breathing deteriorated to the point where she no longer took in enough oxygen to keep the carbon dioxide from building up too much. Because she was full code, they re-intubated her and pumped the oxygen back into her to keep her going.

By the morning, she was no longer breathing on her own. Mom and Dad kept her on the ventilator until they heard from my Uncle Greg, Dad’s brother, who said that he didn’t need to come up. Now, however, Grandma Sullivan is breathing on her own… but not enough to stay alive for any period of time. Basically, Grandma’s brain doesn’t tell her to keep breathing when she falls asleep. The difficulty is that Grandma, being schizophrenic, isn’t competent to decide for herself whether she wants them to keep her alive or not. She really doesn’t understand the repercussions of any decision she makes. Mom and Dad have to decide what to do for her. This is an awfully difficult decision.

For now, we’re just waiting. Waiting is so difficult.