Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something



#MicroblogMondays – Great Grandpa


I have many fond memories of my grandfather. As a kid, I called him “Pap”. My family would pack in the car and make fairly frequent 4 hour drives to their house in a small (tiny) town in Pennsylvania, and I usually spent a week there over the summer. My favorite memory is our walks from the house to “downtown”, where he’d buy a newspaper and I some penny candy (that actually cost a penny).

He lived independently for a few years after my grandmother died, but eventually began to fall ill. By the time Bryan and I found out we were expecting the twins, he was living in a nursing facility. We took one last trip up to that tiny town in Pennsylvania over Christmas in 2012 to visit him. His health was quite poor at this point, and no one was sure how much longer he’d be with us.

Unfortunately, he was barely lucid by the time we arrived, but he looked at me and looked at my belly and I could tell he knew. He didn’t have to say anything, you could just see it in his face. At that visit, he gave the twins one of their first gifts. It was a set of stuffed bears, one boy and one girl, that he named Isadore and Isabella.

He passed shortly after the new year. I knew he’d never get to meet Miles and Abby but was sad all the same.

We used the bears in our maternity pictures, but otherwise they have sat on a shelf as I was trying to keep them nice and clean. Honestly, I had forgotten about them – not on purpose, just after getting involved in the hustle and bustle of life. A couple of days ago, though, both Abby and Miles came marching out of their room, a bear in each hand.

He may not have gotten to meet them, but he is still here.

The Grandfather Passage

The Grandfather Passage is a reading passage sometimes used in the field of Speech Therapy, usually with adults. It doesn’t make a ton of sense as a story when read line by line, but is used to assess things like speech fluency and voice. The first line begins “you wish to know all about my grandfather….”

Trips to my grandparents were fairly frequent when I was little. I called them Pap and Precious. Apparently I started calling her precious because she would comment on something I did or said that was precious and so I called her that once and the name stuck. I can’t remember why Pap was Pap but pretty much everyone called him that. When we visited he and I would often take walks to get the newspaper and I’d sometimes get candy from Warfield’s, the local store. I really enjoyed those walks. That stopped at some point, I assume because I was probably too cool for that. Then of course as I got older we didn’t visit as much, particularly during college and once I had moved to South Carolina.

During our trip to Ohio at Christmas we traveled to Pennsylvania to visit him at the nursing home. We did the same the year before, and Bryan was able to meet him and my aunt for the first time. Wheelchair bound and suffering from dementia  but still able to able to converse, still mostly cognizant. Pap and I fancyChristmas 2011

I’ve said before that it’s crazy what difference a year can make. After a bout of aspiration pneumonia which landed him in the hospital, he had just returned to the home a few days before. He knew about the pregnancy and I had shared the news of the sexes with my aunt during his hospital stay, and he declared their names should be Isadore and Isabel.  Unfortunately the day we visited he was not very responsive and I wasn’t sure at first if he even knew who I was. He hadn’t eaten much and was running a fever. At one point, though, he looked over at me and pointed at my belly. He knew. It made me sad that he probably wouldn’t ever get to meet them in person, as we expected this would be his last Christmas.

As the days went on his health continued to decline and eventually two or three days ago  he stopped eating.  Bryan and I are not regular pray-ers, but we did that night for him, my aunt, my dad, and the family in general.

When my phone rang this morning and read “Dad” on the screen, we knew. He had passed about 7 this morning. It was time. His passage from earth was expected, but all the same hard to hear.

As I left for my walk later this morning I thought of the ones we used to take together. Today’s walk was me, the dogs, my IPOD and Pap….with the periodic shout at the dog to stop pulling me.

We miss you down here, but know you are happy up there. Now, you can walk with me and the babies every morning. Pap kiss

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