My family and I are traveling this weekend, spending time in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The majority of our extended families live out East and it is so much fun to be able to come and spend time with them!
We spent yesterday afternoon with my husband's grandfather, who just the day before had turned 93! It's amazing to think of what he has witnessed in those 93 years, from 1919 to 2012. We always love to hear his stories of World War II, traveling through France, England, Germany, Poland and Russia and to hear his perspective of growing up as a farm boy in the Pennsylvania countryside. But this visit was different. He had his tales to tell and he is still so independent! However, he would forget who we were, why we were here and he couldn't quite understand why we would be here to visit him. It is so hard to watch our loved ones age! I'm not sure why God made it so that we go back out much the same way we came in. It became harder this time to have our usual conversations, so we found ourselves just sitting in his company, knowing he was just happy not to be alone. The hardest part was saying goodbye. He thanked us for the ride home from dinner, as though we were strangers who brought him home out of the goodness of our hearts. I wanted to hug him, but he wasn't too sure about me, so we shook hands instead. It's heart-wrenching, but it's okay. He may not remember me, but I know him. I know the man who was a husband of almost 70 years, a father of 5, a United States Army veteran, farmer, fisherman, hunter, grandfather of 4, great-grandfather of 7, with gentle, bright blue eyes that he gave to my daughter. We hold his memories, since they are now a part of our own. It is up to us to share his memories and his stories and be extra careful to listen for those that are yet to come.