Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children.  Proverbs 17:6

I have been blessed with many grandparents - some by birth, some by marriage.  I am also blessed that many of them are still living.

Three weeks ago we made a much-overdue trip to see my maternal grandparents in the town I was born.  I am sad to say it had been about 5 years since our previous visit.  Needless to say, my grandparents had only met Emma, and none of our boys. 

My grandparents both had their birthdays this month - he is 98 and she is 94.  They are both living together in the house they've always had, with some help from one of their sons and some occasional caretakers.  Grandpa's mental state started declining a few years ago, and he is now to the point where he doesn't recognize or remember family members.  Grandma has declined a little physically, but is still up and about to serve meals to Grandpa and keep an eye on him. 

They both have their recliner chairs that have been in the same spot for years with TV trays right next to them.  Grandma's tray always had the remote on it, and I remember how she would always hit the "mute" button during commercials.  Drove me nuts.  But they very much enjoyed their favorite shows - Star Trek, Bonanza and Gunsmoke.  I knew better as a kid to not mess with those shows.

It was fun looking around the house a bit and showing things I remembered to the kids.

 I love this house.  It is 101 years old, and to me it is beautiful. 

There is a walking path that goes around half of the house.  I used to ride Grandpa's home-built motor scooter down the path and around the house over and over. 

Inside, we found Grandpa and Grandma just finishing up their lunch.  Grandpa didn't know who we were, but we told him we were family and he understood that was special.  He was especially fond of Emma, and kept telling her how pretty she was. 

Grandpa's office is like a time-capsule.  He used to spend many hours in there studying his bible and reading about aviation.  He was one of history's early aviators who made headlines with his experimental aircraft back in the day.  Later he went on to fly gliders into war zones in WWII. 

Grandpa's desk hasn't changed much.  His desk calendar is in place from 2003.  By then he wasn't writing in his calendar, but for many years he scribed a daily verse into each day on the calendar.  I was touched to see my wedding picture displayed on his desk.

One of the last things Grandpa must have had interest in reading.

There are airplanes all over his office.  I even remember when Grandpa had a real airplane (a glider) in his yard. 

It was bitter sweet to see my grandparents and relive old memories.  As we said our goodbyes I had a very strong sense that that was the last time I would see them, this side of heaven.

Today I received word that this morning my Grandmother suffered a massive stroke.  She is in the hospital in grave condition.  It is likely only a matter of hours or days before she is dancing with Jesus. 

I am so thankful for the recent visit, and for the lifetime of memories.


Anonymous said...

Shana, I can hardly see to write this with the tears streaming down my face. What a lovely tribute to two fabulous people that were such great role models for me. Love you! mom


Anonymous said...

I was fortunate to have known them, and they will have left MANY fond memories for everyone they have touched. So glad you made the trip, Shana.