Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

Today we pay our respects to those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  These folks laid down their lives so that we, and others, could enjoy a world free from oppression.  They ensured our freedom to live as we wish, love as we wish, and worship as we wish.  

Today, we will gather with my wife's side of the family, with heavier hearts.  The patriarch of the family, John, will not be with us as he has been hospitalized with the effects of various illnesses.  It appears that his body is growing tired and weak, which is also causing his mind to slide into confusion at times.  

I've known John as a "Grandpa" longer than my own grandparents.  He helped me with various projects at our old house.  I especially remember him helping me lay a brick sidewalk around the back.  While patience has not been his greatest virtue, being there for his family has been.  Our favorite activity has been the quest for the perfect martini.  Or perhaps arguing about politics.  Or maybe trying to bluff each other out of 10 pennies while playing poker.  

John is a throwback.  He is a rare commodity in this world.  He grew up during times that were lean and tough, times where men were required to put emotion aside in order to concentrate on being the provider, and chief officer of the household.  And yet as he got older he has embraced a different role.  It may have started with his time with a very young Tyler.  He accepted Tyler for who he was and reached out to him.  He tried to help Tyler be as "normal" as possible, while enjoying him for who he was.  He laughed and lovingly poked at Tyler's crazy habits, which helped Tyler accept himself.  I think they learned more from each other than either will ever truly know.  

Its not easy for me, or any of us, to see him change.  It appears as though he is on a steady decline that will require him to be cared for in a nursing home setting.  Our hope now is to make him comfortable and functional enough to enjoy visits from his family.  The man, who I respect deeply, deserves that and nothing less.  He has earned it in spades.

So as we pay our tribute today to those who made it possible for us to freely gather as a family, we also pay tribute to the man who defines our family.  We love you John.

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