Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

Poppy - May, 2005

Yesterday was my maternal grandfather's 88th birthday. This is the grandfather who served in the military in WWII and was stationed in Guam, while his wife and son were back home in Wisconsin. This is the man who still kisses his wife on the lips -- his wife who is in the Alzheimer's unit in their nursing home and doesn't make sense anymore. This is the man who came to all my music recitals, who taught me how to play Skip-Bo, Phase10, and Uno. His freezer was always stocked with popsicles in the summertime, and his grass was always soft and perfectly trimmed. I remember -- I can even smell it -- running to their basement, getting a rootbeer popsicle, going outside, my bare feet scorching a little bit on the hot deck, then running over to the grass and feeling the lush blades on my feet. This is the man who had colon cancer 20-some years ago, had a tree fall on him 15 years ago, had a hip replaced 10 years ago, and had a heart attack and surgery four years ago -- he was not breathing for a long time after the heart attack, and his brain was deprived of oxygen long enough to give him some memory loss -- he can't remember little things two seconds after you tell him, but he remembers the big things, the things that matter; he remembers that a tree fell on my dad's head, but no matter how many times we tell him, he can't remember how Dad's doing now. But he remembers to ask. This is the man who still dresses in crisp dress shirts and slacks every day, thin dress socks and loafers, his hair perfectly combed. Last weekend when I went to visit him, he was sitting cross-ways in his recliner, reading the paper, his back against one arm, his legs draped over the other. He is ridiculously spry and handsome.


Angela said...

Hey, that sounds just like my grandpa!! :P

dänika said...

Weird!! :P