Saturday, December 22, 2007

grandpa ray

Christmas is around the corner. I have loads I could be doing right now, but I don't feel like doing anything right now except think of my grandpa.

Grandpa Ray is the last living grandparent I have. I lost my grandmothers relatively early. Grandma Esmer when I was 13; Grandma Faith when I was 15. And I never did know my maternal grandfather Frank. He died before I was born. My maternal grandfather, to me, was Harley, a nice old Bermudian man my maternal grandmother married when she went on a cruise after her husband died.

Grandpa Ray is my paternal grandfather. I was closest to him because we only lived 16 miles apart for most of my growing up years.

When I think of my grandpa, I think of his laugh, and of his twinkling eyes. I think of his mischievous smile, like he gets something you just don't. I suppose at 91, that's exactly right.

My grandpa has always been so vibrant, so bigger than life. Always active, always busy. Over the last couple years, it seemed like my grandfather's health was declining at a faster rate. He started walking slower, he starting using a cane. He tired easily. He was losing weight. And last summer, he couldn't remember my husband's name for the first 1/2 day of our family reunion, which made Jeff so sad. Jeff has loved him too, for 16 years.

Grandpa moved into an independent living place. It was a tough sell, and it was only because he was lonely, and because I think he realized deep down he wasn't eating right, and he really wasn't taking care of himself like he should, that he finally gave in to the idea of "trying it out" for a bit. My aunt Mary is a miracle worker. She even managed to get him to stop driving, something he should have done years ago. We're so lucky he never hurt himself, or someone else.

So he tried out the new place for "just a bit". That was months ago! He's having the time of his life. He's dancing, he's talking, he's going on dates, and I have no doubt every woman in that place has a big crush on the new handsome stranger. He's quite the charmer.

I'm traveling to see him next week and I can't wait. I want to give him a hug, and I want to tell him I love him. I know that at 91 there might not be alot of time left to give earthly hugs to this man who has meant so much to me.

And do you want to know a secret? When I'm home and he calls, I don't always answer the phone. I call him back. Why? When people leave a voicemail, a .wav voice file is sent to my email. I store these precious emails so whenever I want to hear my Grandpa speak to me, all I have to do is hit "play". And I hear "Hi Lisa and Jeff, this is Grandpa Ray..."