5:00 am on a Thursday morning, winding through the long line for US customs with my Mom at Terminal 1, heading for Tampa Florida, finally reaching the wicket where a uniformed agent asks, “and what is the purpose of your trip?”, the saddened reply from Mom, “personal, visiting my dying Father”.
It was at that moment, with the sound of a rubber stamp, that I realized for certain that Grandpa was not going to be with us long. He had been diagnosed with a brain tumor just before our last visit with him but told no one at the time. All I could think of was the two hours we spent alone together that day, on the edge of the dock, talking about my plans for university and my passion for horseback riding with Grandpa telling stories at every turn about his life growing up in Elrose Saskatchewan, the building of his coffee business and anecdotes about characters he has met along the way. It was simply the best two hours I have ever spent with him and I will remember that time as long as I live.
Now, waiting to board the flight to see him again, not knowing if it will be for the last time, and thinking back to that day on the dock when he, but only he, knew his prognosis, I could only look toward my Mom and wonder what was in her thoughts and envy the much longer time she has had with her Father, my Grandpa.
Born to working parents in their 40th year, and having a Grandpa in his 81st that ran his business right up to a few months ago, life in our family has always been hectic and as a seventeen year old, I never thought things would ever be different but today, they are.
Those two hours on the dock, just him and me, is a memory that will last a lifetime and when Grandpa dies, I will always have those two hours that magnify all the other times we have spent together no matter how fleeting. Those two hours on the dock meant a great deal; sharing of life experiences, a glimpse of a business world spoken by a true legend in his field and of course the special love and encouragement, the kind only a Grandpa can provide.
While the hectic pace of life will surely continue as it does for many families and often, time remains something to be scheduled rather than cherished, I encourage all Grandpas pencil in their ‘two hours on the dock’ with their Grandchildren, my Grandpa did, and for me, it will last forever.