Irascible. Incorrigible. Incredible.
I visited my Grandfather in hospital today. He is 91. Although he fights it with the vigor of a man decades younger, the century is finally catching up with his mind. He just wants to go home. That may not be an option.
Immutable. Indefatigable. Incredible.
My Grandmother gives him his favourite homemade ANZAC biscuits. She answers his questions calmly, over and over again. She reminds him who I am, while simultaneously talking with me about the merits of different educational approaches at the school her great-grandchildren attend. Back in 2011 we spent some time together so I could get a portrait of the two of them. My Grandfather is a life long minister of religion, a singing evangelist. Always performing. In between his stories I managed to get a few lovely portraits.
Sitting in his hospital bed, an oxygen mask over his mouth for ten minutes on nurse’s orders (he has reluctantly agreed to allow the nurses to be boss), he examines the bruise on his hand where an IV drip was inserted. A life-long artist, he used to paint oil landscapes all night. I tell him the bruise looks like an abstract painting. He prepares a sharp comment, then the storm behind his eyes fades away and he reaches for my Grandmother’s hand. Without pause in our conversation she takes his hand in hers.