My grandfather is and has always been active. He keeps himself quite busy and has throughout his life. He first served 30 years in the Navy before retiring to work another decade or so for the county Courts. Although we have not always seen eye to eye, or even been on speaking terms, his energy and vitality maintained a solid place in my life.
But now, well, now he isn’t as he once was. He still plays bridge regularly and does something Downtown every month, but there is something missing. I didn’t pick up on it until Saturday morning. Prior to that, my dad had told me various times that something was different. My grandfather was not well. But I suppose I didn’t notice due to all that was happening around me or because I only see my grandfather once a year… I just didn’t notice.
And then I did. He was preparing a batch of pancakes. This is a family tradition – we have pancakes the last morning we are there. This year we had a delicious batch for Christmas morning and then this not so delicious batch the Saturday my brother and his army arrived.
Perhaps my grandfather was just purely and totally exhausted. I am not exactly sure. I just know that something was off that morning. Suddenly I saw what my dad saw. I found myself organizing family pictures; I found myself offering to be there more; I found myself saying good-bye.
My grandfather is nearly 89 years old. He has lived a very healthy and happy life to date. I, to be honest, have no idea if the feeling I have is off or not. I don’t pretend to know what the future holds or whether this was my last visit with him. That said, I do know that it is never too early or too late to be honest with those around us and to share with them the difference that they make – how much we treasure them or just how we feel about them.
The road that each travels is filled with people and relationships. Most of the time we hardly notice all the people around us as we are each busy doing our own things, living our own lives. Then there are the people who touch our life for a moment before disappearing into the crowd. They are those that give a cheery hello or a friendly smile; those that don’t realize that a difference has been made.
There are the short lived relationships from which each gives and takes what is needed before moving on to the next part of the path. Then there are the long relationships – those that grow and endure and adapt.
Yet, the type of relationship doesn’t matter really as any of them, from the shortest to the longest, can make a difference in our lives. Sometimes we note the impact immediately while other times it can take years. Sometimes we don’t realize what we have received until the relationship is completed and years have passed.
In the end, perhaps the point of this, is that it is important to recognize and give thanks for all that is received. For the time shared. For the love given. We never know what the future holds, so seize the moment.