The real slow-down started in January, with an infection, a hospital visit, a return home and slow recovery, weaker, then another infection, repeat, weaker, repeat. When I went to visit end of March, he was walking with a cane, sleeping a lot, but nonetheless doing better than he had for a few months.
We went to church on Maundy Thursday, and I was introduced to foot-washing. At their last supper together, Jesus washed his followers' feet as a symbol of humility, love, and service. Tonight, we were to come to the front of the church with a partner and wash each other's feet. Grandfather motioned me forward I handed him his cane and walked him to the front. I carefully removed his shoes and socks and washed his feet, taking care to avoid the ingrown toenails we'd gone to the podiatrist about earlier that day. When I finished he stood from the chair, put aside his cane, and to the dismay and shock of everyone standing nearby, knelt down on the ground. He washed my feet in the bucket, dried them with the towel, and then rose halfway and whispered in my ear, "The Lord bless you and keep you." I helped him the rest of the way up and we returned to our pew.
This was the truest reenactment of the gospel story. Grandfather is the one who deserves to be served and prayed for and taken care of. Earlier that week, hired home health aides were giving him a bath. And he washed my feet and blessed me.