Thursday, May 29, 2008

Remembering

My dad was always quite the entertainer. He was a wonderful singer and dancer, and a great storyteller as well. He loved impersonating characters he would see on television. Do you remember Crazy Guggenheim on The Jackie Gleason Show? Dad loved him and did a great impersonation. He also loved The Mad Russian. When dad would enter a room he would often bellow "How do you do?" just like him. You couldn't help but laugh when he did it. Even as dad's Alzheimer's progressed he would still make my boys laugh like crazy with his goofy voices. He hasn't been able to do any of that lately and I wonder how long it will be before my boys forget all about how fun grandpa could be.

I was getting really sad thinking about it the other day. Wondering how much time my dad has left. How he really isn't himself anymore no matter how hard he tries. How my kids won't remember grandpa the way he used to be. They won't remember how they would beg my dad, "Grandpa, say 'how do you do' again!" over and over. They won't remember how grandpa could be the life of the party.

Just as the lump in my throat was getting close to bursting Tommy walked in the room and said in his best "grandpa" impersonation voice, "How do you do?" and laughed and laughed. I just looked at him, stunned. How did he know to say that at that moment? How did he know that was exactly what I needed to hear?

My eyes filled with tears. I bent down, cradled Tommy's face in my hands, and kissed his sweet little cheeks. They may not remember him as they get older but I will tell them all I know. And he will always be a part of them. Always.

33 comments:

Mom24 said...

That is so beautiful. Life can be very, very sad, can't it? I'm so sorry for you and your family. I'm sure you know the saying that a person is never really gone as long as they live on in your heart and you talk about them. Good luck on your journey.

Immoral Matriarch said...

He will. All of you.

anne said...

What good timing! Even if the memories fade, I think that your dad will always be a part of your boys because his spirit has affected them. It sounds like your dad's humor will go on through Tommy.

wright said...

Oh Kat, that is so beautiful. I got teary reading it. I think the same thing about my parents - will my baby remember them as full of life. Breaks my heart to think about it.

wright said...

Oh Kat, that is so beautiful. I got teary reading it. I think the same thing about my parents - will my baby remember them as full of life. Breaks my heart to think about it.

Stephanie said...

I have tears now. That was so sweet. Your children may remember more than you think they do. And a part of him will always live on in them with those "how do you do's". And if they don't remember, you can always remind them.

Motherhood for Dummies said...

So sorry to hear about your father and how wonderfully lucky your children are to have him in their lives and you, who will be able to help them rememeber their true grandfather.

Sandy C. said...

My eyes are filled with tears too.
Kathryn, your boys are so sweet. They will remember and hold those memories close. I know you will be their greatest reminder. *hugs*

Dawn said...

Sometimes I think our kids serve as God's little messengers. I'm glad that your sweet little boy was able to say exactly what you needed to hear.

Jeni said...

I'm wondering now if maybe there is something floating in the air that maybe is causing folks to think about those who are either no longer with us -whether if be that they have already left us completely or are lingering in "their own world" as your dad is right now? This morning, my older daughter called me and as we were talking about some things about my son, she got to remembering various little quirky things one of my Mom's brother's used to do and how sometimes my son (her brother) reminds her so much of this particular uncle of ours. Wonderful memories, certainly but at the same time, it brings about some very poignant thoughts as well and makes you realize how much you still miss people even after many years but remember the wonderful things that person -or many people -brought into our lives. It's sad and yet, laden with sentimentality that can bring tears and smiles simultaneously.

Elaine A. said...

That just gave me chills and well, tears. So beautiful though and you are right, he will live on through your boys.

Kristen said...

That just gave me chills too!

The boys will remember. They have a wonderful mom, who will make sure that they remember. You will be the one to help them remember how fun your dad was.

Keep up spirits up Kathryn. I am sure that it is sooo hard, but hang in there. What a testimony to love you and your family are.

maggie's mind said...

Tears taking a stroll down my cheeks. This is beautiful. My heart still breaks for your family having such a rugged and cruel disease happen to such a great dad, husband and grandpa. This is hopeful, though. And really very, very sweet. I keep you all in my thoughts and always hope you are doing OK.

Wendy said...

That was so sweet...He will always be a part of them!

Wisconsin Mommy said...

Beautifully written - I have tears in my eyes.

Golightly said...

You're breaking my heart, here. I can't even type because I can't see the keyboard!!

Still praying for you - et al.

abritdifferent said...

Beautiful post, what a tribute to your dad and your sweet boys. You are a strong woman and I respect and admire you. Kids are so perceptive, aren't they?

Kellan said...

What a sweet, sad story, Kathryn. And, yes - you will teach them all that you know!

Take care - Kellan

Rima said...

That's lovely. And it gave me the chills. I think your stories will help jolt some of the boys' memory about him, too.

lime said...

bless that boy and the spirit that moved him to slide into the room bursting out in grandpa's rendition. photo albums and family story telling is one way to insure your dad and his humor live on.

wheelsonthebus said...

This is one of the hardest things to reconcile -- we cannot give our children the guarantee of those we know would love them the most.

Jewelgirl said...

And now you know why I do family
history. So the stories of the family pass on to the 'next
generation'. To me it is important that the family member, (who we never knew or met or cannot remember) have their place in time and in our hearts.
(((HUGS)))
This is very difficult time for
everyone, and we all miss the
wonderful man he was.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

That is so touching.

Momma said...

What a wonderful moment with your son.

I know that you treasure each moment with your dad. Just remember, all of us are changing constantly, even you. Just because he isn't who he was doesn't mean he isn't just as wonderful (as you know). Keep holding all those good memories. They are the scrapbooks of our hearts.

Peace - D

Nissa said...

Big Hugs, Kathryn. That post made me cry. It's awesome though, that your 2 older sons have the good memories with your dad. I think they will keep them throughout their lives.

On a more cheerful note, I love your new blog look! :)

Mary Alice said...

I just stumbled onto your blog for the firs time. What a beautiful post. You made me cry. Your Dad sounds like a wonderful man and it sounds like his sense of humor will live on in your boy.

Kelly said...

Sometimes kids instinctively know what we need. How sweet that he did that.

Catwoman said...

Isn't it amazing how kids can somehow seem to read our minds sometimes?

Such a sad story, but as other people have said, your dad is in them and he will live on through your stories of him.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Beautiful.
They will remember him-- the way you do, because you'll share that with them. And, do you realize that because you blog about your dad, there's people all over the world that are going to remember him too-- through your eyes. THAT's really beautiful.

Jenni said...

My kids never even met my grandfather, but they know him through my stories. They even know some of his idiosyncrasies just b/c I tell them so often.

Your family will be in my prayers as Father's Day approaches.

painted maypole said...

YOU will remember. And they will know.

I'm so glad Tommy gave you that gift (it's making me cry...)

Lisa said...

How sweet is that?

You will always keep his memory alive for your boys through your stories and memories.

You're such a good mom, Kathryn.

Melinda said...

The best thing you can do is to keep those memories alive. Sorry to hear your family has to deal with this. I hope that you can all find ways to keep yourselves positive for the sake of your dad. He will need you all more than ever.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson