I went to visit my parents this past week because I missed my grandfather.
I’m lucky. At 43, I am the oldest of the oldest of the oldest. I have known 3 of my great grandparents. My great grandmother was at my high school graduation.
So, when my wife was heading east for business this week, I took the chance to take 3 days off and head west. I missed my grandfather.
He will be 89 in September. My grandmother passed away almost 3 years ago, and while my Grumps is as healthy as any octogenarian can be, I still wonder when it will end.
We went to a hockey game this week, more than 34 years after he took me to my first game in 1979. Then it was the flyers and Habs tying at 5 with Parent and Dryden in the pipes. This time it was the Canucks and Wild with Luongo and Kuemper.
We had Chinese food before the game. We always have had Chinese food before hockey. It’s just what we do. And, like I have wondered the past few years when we go to games, I paused and soaked it in as if this was the last time.
I took pictures. I made videos.
That’s the thing I realized after my Nan was gone – there were lots of pictures, but not enough videos. When my grandfather came and stayed with us in the spring of 2011 while my parents were traveling, I made a video of my son, my grandfather, and I having breakfast at Denny’s. nothing special, just a moment in time. Even then I wondered if time was short.
Was this the last time? I hope not. Probably not. But I made sure to savour it as if it was.
A friend of our family has been diagnosed with a very serious brain tumor. Her destiny is decided. So it has me pondering my own mortality. We all have bucket lists of things we want to do. I often fantasize that if I was given an illness with a death sentence, I would spend my final days scribbling off the list. Truth is, when you get that news it’s usually too late. Your body is already defeated and you are resigned to a fight just to have a normal day to day experience. Globe trotting is out of the question.
If you’ve got something you’ve always want to do, you have to do it while you can. No better time than the present? Exactly.
So I missed my grandfather and came to see him. I took him for Chinese food and hockey as we have for 34 years. I took pictures, video, laughed on the outside and silently sighed on the inside.
Was it the last time? Doesn’t matter – it was the best time.