Monday, June 17, 2013

Grandpa

Yesterday was Father's Day (if you are just now realizing this, dog house for you).  I can't say enough about my husband and my father.  They are just so much more than I could ever ask for and I have so much hope for the future of my children because of these amazing men in their lives.  However, amidst all of that, my heart and my mind kept wandering to this guy.


He's my grandpa.  He has dementia and Parkinson's Disease.  Most days, he can't remember that he's a father.  He doesn't know about the amazing love he extended to my mom.  They took her in at age 16.   I often try to imagine what that conversation was like.  I wonder if my grandma filled him in on the tragic details and said,"Bill, we have to help these kids." Maybe it was his idea.  He can't tell me now.  I do know that his huge tender kind heart said yes.  He said yes and took on a heart broken teenage girl having never raised children of his own.  He was a boy scout backpack troop leader and didn't know much about teenage girls.  Do any of us really know anything about teenage girls? I don't and I lived it.  As it turns out, he was the perfect father for her.  The one she always wanted and never gave up praying for.  He provided a home for her...one he came home to every night.  He loved God, he loved his wife, and he loved her.  He was gentle and generous and so very kind.  He gained her trust and never broke it.  I wonder if she was anxious, at first, every time something went wrong, waiting for him to lash out like her first father or if she immediately knew the kindness in his soul.  His sweet grace just poured out on people from the first meeting.  He was just so...nice.

He never held the fact that we weren't biologically related over our heads. We were his own blood. He used to joke and ask strangers if we looked alike and then tell us we should be relieved our toes weren't grown together like his.  He told us stories about his country childhood because his history was our history. 

His world has been reduced to meal times, physical therapy, and visits from my grandma that he forgets every time he wakes up.  He can't remember he's a father and that's why I'm writing this.  His memories have been stolen by dementia, but we will never forget. By posting this, I hope my children will forever know the love of this kind man and what it has meant to our family. 

I love you Grandpa.  Thank you for giving us this life.

2 comments:

Heather. said...

My boyfriend's step-father is showing the early signs of Alzheimer's/dementia. So far, it's just little things like forgetting where something is in the kitchen, but it's becoming more and more frequent. It's hard to watch this former schoolteacher, this smart, kind man struggle to keep up in conversations and remember where something belongs in his own home.

Anyway. Your grandfather sounds like an amazing man. You're lucky to have him... and vice versa. <3

sarah said...

It is such a journey, watching their decline. Surrounding them with love is most important! Thank you for reading.

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