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.