I had some work related business to take care of in my old hometown and thought it would be a good chance to pick up Granddaddy along the way. He had sold the farm and had moved into town after my grandmother died, and I had yet to see his new home. I drove eight hours northwest to pick him up and then another five to six hours north to my parent's house.
Along the way I learned things about him that I never knew. Driving through Louisville, I learned that he once made baseball bats at the Louisville Slugger factory. I expected a theological reason as to why he never smoked or drank. "It cost too much," he said. On the subject of cars, "Five-thousand dollars is a lot of money to have tied up in a car."
As we were walking from my parent’s garage to the house he mentioned his new house. "You've never seen my house have you." I reminded him that I had just picked him up from his house the day before. At the time I didn't think much about his momentary lapse.
We left very late on the return trip and didn't get to his house until 2:00 in the morning. I wanted to keep driving and go on home, but he convinced me to get a little sleep. Having no alarm clock, I asked if he would wake me in two hours. He did as I asked and fixed me breakfast before he would let me leave.
As was his custom he followed me out to my car to say his last goodbye and waved as I drove out the drive. My grandfather lived another twelve years after my visit, but that was his last goodbye to me. I got busy with my young family and my work. When I saw him again less than two years later, Alzheimer's had taken my Granddaddy and had left someone who didn't know me.
We never know when the goodbye will be the last.
Elder Source Senior Ministries
Stan, this really hits close to home for me. My Dad, now 86, has shown some signs of dementia over the past few years but still has strong mind and body for his age (I came home from work just today to find him out in my yard cleaning up the debris from the strong winds we had last night).
A few years ago I bought a house just down the street from my parents, the same street on which I grew up. During my 20's and 30's I was living the life of a lost man and I spent as little time around my parents as possible, dishonoring them and God. I missed out on so much, but thanks be to God he drew me back to himself and mended that relationship and I now spend a lot more time with my parents.
I often pick up Dad and take him out for hot dogs and we get some one-on-one time, the same kind you write about where you learn things you didn't know. I will cherish those times for the rest of my life and I hope to have many more. But, I often think to myself how many more? Am I making the most of the time we have together? Probably not, we all fall short... but I am truly grateful for the second chance that has been given to me to get to know my parents all over again!
- Jon R.