I had the recent privilege to spend Christmas with my family. I haven't been able to do so every year since I've lived in Texas, so I consider it a real privilege. In the more recent trips back to The Hawkeye State I have tried to make it a point to spend time with my grandparents as well as some extended family members. (I don't really like the term "extended family". I understand its point but my entire family has always been close and it's one of the many blessing I remember to count.) It probably doesn't help being so far away, but it seems like my grandparents have aged faster and their health deteriorated at a more rapid pace in my five and a half years in Texas. For this reason, among others, I consider it a blessing when I get to spend time with them.
This Christmas was the first time all of my cousins and myself were in the same place in at least 6 years! One day we got to have lunch with Grandma and Grandpa Gugel and spend some time talking with them and learning more about them. Grandpa Gugel is 90, he has said for several years now it was his goal to reach 90 and now that he has reached that milestone he has reevaluated that goal to an even 100. :) I would say 2009 was especially hard for him with some ongoing health issues and stays in the hospital as well as finally giving up his keys and drivers licence.
We sat and spoke with him about his life, his childhood and Grandma Orpha. (Grandma Orpha died in 1978 and therefore I never knew her and have always known Grandpa's second wife as Grandma Gugel) My Grandpa is a quiet person, often reserved in his feelings and emotions but not afraid to speak his mind. I have only seen him emotional twice in my life. The first being when his grandson, Shaun, died and the second being just this past Christmas as he told us the story of the day Grandma Orpha died. He told the story in vivid detail, even pointing out where he had been working that day. He is at the point now where he will repeat things without realizing it and Grandma is gracious enough to let him speak without correction. As he told the story of that day for the second time it held the same emotion in his voice and on his face, as well as the same detail within that made it so personal. It's something I will never forget, at that moment, he was more true to me than I ever remember.
We also asked some other questions of his life some of which he could answer easily and some of which he could not and therefore responded, "My brain is full. There's just so much stuff in there I can't pull some of it out anymore." It was funny the way he said it, anyone who knows him can imagine him saying this. He was, for the most part, serious so we chuckled to ourselves and laughed with each other via eye contact. All in all it was one of my most enjoyable days home and I thank my mother for all the times long (or not so long) ago she "reminded" me to spend time with my grandparents.
What are some things you have taken for granted and where do you need to Take Some Time?
1 year ago