I am no stranger to loss, but I have suffered another devastating blow. My mother’s father, to all grandchildren, Pappaw passed away on May 20th. This man was one of the most amazing people on the planet. To me, he was something really special! This man was the best story teller, fiddle player, and grandfather anyone could ask for. Although I didn’t get to spend as much time with him in his last few years, I am blessed with my wonderful memories of him. Unfortunately, he has been battling with Dementia for a few years, and we knew this day was inevitable, but I assure you it did not make it any easier.
I have so many amazing memories that I don’t even know which one would be best. So lets just jump in. Every Christmas, we would travel to Post, Texas to visit my grandparents. My dad, Pappaw, and I would go fishing at Lake Alan Henry! The thing I remember most about our fishing trips is the stories Pappaw would tell and his infectious laugh! This man had the absolute BEST giggle! I mean it was practically impossible to not burst into laughter when he got started. I also had the pleasure of staying with them when I attended summer school in college. At that time, they lived in New Waverly. Pappaw had a dog named Fritz 2. See Fritz had one heck of an underbite, and the most hilarious thing was to watch him attempt to pick up a piece of watermelon off the floor and eat. I laugh even just thinking about it. Our stomach would hurt! He even taught me how to say ” I like to drink beer” in Polish! It was the absolute best. When I was younger, he would come and stay with me at out house while my parents were at work. We would get into all kinds of mischief. Every time, he would leave to head home, he would leave a whole bunch of change behind to find! I mean this man would leave so much you wondered where he kept it all. This family was so blessed with him!
For those of you who have had family or friends that has suffered from dementia…it is absolutely horrific. There is nothing worse that someone you have known your entire life have no idea who you are. It is not me that I feel for, but my mother, aunts, and uncle. They had to see their father not even recognize them when they visited. I can’t even imagine that kind of pain. And then there was his wife of 67 years…He eventually had no idea who she was. His family had to just sit and watch him slowly lose everything. It is one of the most difficult things to watch. The worst part is there is no cure. So once it was determined that he suffered from Dementia he was given a death sentence with no hope of recovery. As hard it is to see him forget, there is a silver lining. We were able to keep our beautiful memories. You got to relieve them all the time! Pappaw would have been 91 this August so he led a full life. We are consoled with the knowledge that we will all be reunited on day! We will not say goodbye, but see you soon.