he has stopped eating…

It started roughly 3 weeks ago… leading up to that we realized his eating abilities had slowed down.  It would take a while for him to chew his few bites of food.  He would eat about half of his meal… and then he would grab for his napkin.  In his world, that is the international sign for “It’s time for dessert”.

Then something switched in his body.  About 3 weeks his eating nearly stopped. While he would eat a few bites at meals – most of it would come back out.  Or he would “pocket” the food – hold it in his cheek.  Sometimes he would swallow it – sometimes he wouldn’t.  His caregivers took the time to explain that at that point it’s dangerous to put more food in his mouth or give him liquids.  It’s obviously a choking hazard.  So the struggle ensued to encourage him to eat, but he can’t be forced.

He is still drinking liquids (but only his favorites) – he sure LOVES his chocolate nutritional drink, holding on to it for dear life.  However, he can’t be fooled when we hand him a vanilla drink – he makes a sour face and pushes it away.

Now, 3 weeks later…

He won’t eat his favorite mashed potatoes and gravy…
He won’t eat meat (his mother is turning over in her grave!)…
He won’t …

He just won’t…

Regardless, he WILL eat vanilla ice cream.  The whole bowl of it…

As his family knows he has always enjoyed his ice cream. 
(insert childhood memory here)
On any given night… Grampa would sit down with his dessert:  a bowl of ice cream and cake/brownies/cookies.  (Back in the day, Gramma would make a new dessert almost every night.)   But somehow it would never “COME OUT EVEN”.  He would either run out of cake and still have ice cream left, or the other way around. 

He would rise from his favorite chair to go back to the kitchen (and if you looked closely you could see a grin cross his mouth)… he needed either more ice cream or more cake (or more of both).  And in true Grampa form, sometimes on the second round it wouldn’t “come out even” again… and so we’d get to see another one of those cute grins.
And back to today… he may only be days to weeks away from closing up the final chapter of his life. 

So it is appropriate:  in his last days, the only thing he will eat is ICE CREAM.
It’s a bittersweet realization… but appropriate.

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