I wish my memory was better than it is. There are so many of those moments that I want to capture in my brain’s library—the ones when you tell yourself, “This is important. Hold onto it.” Then, before I know it, it’s nothing more than a fuzzy, “I know this was something special, but I just can’t remember…”
My grandfather passed away around Thanksgiving of last year. Before he died, Catch and I stopped by the nursing home my family had moved him into. It was a residential care home—a couple of quiet bedrooms, with a solid nursing staff in a regular house tucked into a quiet neighborhood. I told Catch that I wanted to take him for a walk—to let him get some fresh air—so we transferred him from the sofa into his wheelchair, put a sweater on him, and wheeled him out into the sunshine.
We walked around the park for a bit. It was a beautiful day, and pappy was babbling on about nonsensical things like the moon being somewhere over in Minnesota. By that point, his dementia was severe enough that he didn’t know who we were, where we were, or why we were there, but he didn’t really seem to care, either.
After a while, we brought him back to the home. The nurses helped him out of his wheelchair, and we sat there together. After a few minutes he looked out at the back yard, turned back to me and said (clear as day), "Does it ever just strike you how blessed we are to be here?"
That was the last real conversation I had with my pappy. A few days later, we got word that my young cousin had been badly injured and was in critical condition after a horrific car accident. Pappy passed away while she was in surgery.
How blessed we are to be here, indeed. I hope I never forget it.