Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Gift of Time

I'd like to think I'm pretty upbeat and positive in most of my posts and this one may be a little more "down", I thought I'd give a heads up if you want to pass on this one today.

I'm very fortunate to still have grandparents that are living and I really cherish the time spent with them although, I wish I spent more (my guilt and regret right there).  Listening to stories of days gone by and the simple pleasures that we often take for granted makes me so thankful for the life I live today.

This past Sunday, my mom, Addie, and myself went to visit my Grandfather who has been in failing health for the last 2 years.  He now lives in an assisted living facility and has been in and out of the hospital several times in the last 3 months or so and by all accounts we are no longer measuring his time left on this earth in years.  My grandfather grew up poor, with his mom working as a single mother in a clothes pin factory to try and provide for herself and her son.  My grandfather's dad was a tug boat captain that was fond of the drink and spent most of his money on just that and didn't offer much to help raise my grandfather.  Through it all, he persevered, worked in an electrical warehouse, got married and had 4 children and decided he wanted a little more from life.  He took some accounting courses at the local college, all while raising 4 children and working full time, and then sat for and passed the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) exam.  He worked at a small local accounting firm before deciding to go to work for the one of the local city school systems as the Director of Finance, where he worked a good part of his career before retiring.  During his adult years he spent most of his days at work and weekends on the golf course.  He was not a man of emotions or feelings, an "I love you" was rare, but you always knew he did.  Since the start of his failing health (marked by a bad stroke on July 4, 2009) he's become much more emotional and often sheds tears and shares emotions every time we see him.  He is a wonderful father, grandfather (or papa as we call him), and great-grandfather (despite his failing health since the birth of his two great-grandchildren, Charlie and Addie).  Somedays he can't remember our names or how we are associated but he's always glad to see us.  Saturday was no different and it means so much to enjoy a warm spring morning sitting outside and talking about the weather.  I got some much needed pictures of him and Addie together and although she will likely never remember him, she will have pictures that I can only hope she will cherish as much as I do.

My grandfather has been an inspiration to me and has earned the love and respect of his family.  He only lived two blocks away from my parents when I was growing up and to say he was an integral part of my life would be an understatement.  He took care of me when I was sick and my parents had to go to work and cheered me on in school and sports.  He took care to listen to everything I had to tell him and always had advice to give, whether you wanted to hear it or not!  He's quick to point out the obvious - like a few months ago when he told me - "You've put on some weight, haven't you J?"  To which I replied - "Yes papa, but I just had a baby, remember?"  Or the time he said to the hubs - "Damn S, you're losing your hair, aren't ya?" - and well, S is:)  but I'm so thankful and fortunate to have him for a grandfather and if there's one thing I know for sure its this - there's a very special place waiting for him and when its his time, he'll be in a better place.


"That man is successful who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much, who has gained the respect of the intelligent men and the love of children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had."  ~Robert Louis Stevenson


Samantha said...

That is so sweet. What a special day, Addie is so lucky to have such "great" people in her life! :)

KM said...

Very Sweet post! You are very lucky to have such a great man in your life! Your last sentence....perfection! I too am dealing with my FIL's health and he is in pain and might only have week or two left. That last sentence helped me this morning, thank you for that!


Natalie said...

Awww that was so sweet! I am lucky to still have 3 out of the 4 of my grandparents...and I actually have one great grandmother! However, my grandfather I was closest to passed away the year I got married. He sounded a lot like your grandfather...and he went to all my sports and watched me if my mom worked late. Thanks for posting this!

Melissa at Tall Blonde said...

Oh my tear...this is great! What a wonderful tribute to your grandfather.
It's such a blessing in life to have such inspirational people that fill a very special place in your heart.
I never knew my Dad's father, he passed before I was even born, but my Mom's father and I had a very special bond. We lost him to Parkinson's and Alzheimer's back in 1994 and he was buried with a picture of me in my high school track uniform. He loved that I ran track because he did too!
Thanks for sharing!

Cara S. said...

Aww Im so glad you got to visit your grandfather and get some pictures. He sounds like a wonderful man and you were lucky enough to grow up near him. I bet he was SO glad to see you and Addie.

Cheryl E. said...

Ok I totally teared up. I just went last week to go visit my Granddad who lives 4 hours away and of course he spoiled me and C like always. I wish I lived closer to him.

Sweet post.

Raven said...

I love love love this. I could almost write this exact same post about my grandpa. and like you, I have guilt about not spending enough time with him, even though he lives only 20 mins away. This post was a good reminder for me to cherish all our times together, so thank you! :)

Kelli Kegley said...

How special that you are so close to your grandfather. The pictures are adorable and I think their eyes favor each other. You can definitely tell they are related! How neat!

Beach Bum & Baby said...

I love this post J! The pictures of him and Addie are so sweet and I never knew how close you and him were when you were growing up. That is so sweet. Sending you a hug hun, you know I'm here for you! xoxo