A retired marine awarded a purple heart and a bronze star. Active, lively, outgoing, full of energy. Then it happened – a fall while getting out of the car. He hit his head on the curb, had a mild stroke, lost use of his left arm and had great difficulty speaking and walking. I saw pictures around the house of him smiling but I only saw him smile once. He was laughing at my driving. He had his complete cognitive faculties but smiling was nearly beyond him anymore. Although barely able to speak, his mind was sharp and he could tease. Smiling just took nearly more effort than he could muster.
I am honored and humbled to provide companion and home care to people like him. He had done so much to serve us – his family, his country, his neighbors. Now it was time to serve him. He more than deserved it.
So came the night of his grandson’s final home football game. The seniors would be called onto the field at halftime. When his family asked if I thought we could get him to the game, I didn’t hesitate. It wasn’t easy – for us much less for him. But it was important. His grandson did a double take when he looked up and saw his grandfather being rolled alongside the sideline inside the gate. He threw a wave and kept playing. As soon as a timeout was called he ran over to give his grandfather a hug then went back to the game. The moment was golden. As happy as I was, the family was even happier. This wonderful memory of a moment that would never happen again.
He passed away four weeks to the day after that football game. Surrounded by his family as he made his own final touchdown. It was a win.
Cherish each moment.