The last embrace of my grandparents

I saw them in the hospital.

There they were in a dark ICU room lit by the glow of electronics, beds rammed together by nurses.

Their arms crossed the void. Grandma’s hands wrapped tightly around grandpa’s arm and he clenching hers in a forever embrace.

It was a simultaneous act of love and desperation.

Image seared into memory, it was the last time I saw them together.

So strange their health would fail at the same time for different reasons… Or maybe they just couldn’t bear to be without their dearly beloved so one followed the other not just in health but also in sickness.

More than a half century of a marriage of true love will do that.

They plunged into deep comas, the prognosis grim.

Grandpa somehow came back for a brief shining moment and asked about her. He succumbed a few days later.

Grandma emerged a week after only to find her forever love gone, passed on. Devastation ensued.

Somehow she healed enough to make it back home. But she was never the same and said so:

“I have this big hole in my heart.”

She died less than a year later, heart and lungs black with cancer.