The Purpose of Grandchildren

It is Thursday. How many Thursdays since Georg died? I have no idea. Way back at the beginning of this blog, Thursdays had so much significance. Georg died on a Thursday. It seems so long ago now, but he is still so dead, so not here. Time does not bring him back. In fact, he just seems to be going farther and farther away.

photo (19)Meanwhile, today is a particularly special Thursday. Sixteen years ago on this date (which was in that year, a Friday) at 6:41 in the evening, Owen was born. Owen. For a long time, he was a baby. Then, he was a child. Now he is a teenager. How and when did all this happen? And even though he has changed so much, he is still right here, not far away at all. At least for now.

Another significant fact about this date that I learned recently from a friend: May 29 is the day JFK was born in 1917. Georg loved JFK. He had lots of JFK memorabilia and all throughout 2013, he was reading a JFK biography called An Unfinished Life by Robert Dallek. I often wonder if Georg felt like he had not managed to finish his life. He had many plans that went unrealized and many works of art left incomplete. Did that bother him, I wonder?

I remember one afternoon last August, I was driving Georg home from a doctor’s appointment and he told me he had an itch to do one more big road trip. He told me he would drive across country one more time and I could fly to different cities and meet him. Given his health, this was SO not happening. This was practically a delusion.

But, in that moment, I consciously felt myself grow up for once. Instead of rolling my eyes at him like a teenager and saying, “oh for heaven’s sake, Dad. You can’t make a road trip like that in your condition,” I said,  “that’s a great idea, Dad! Let’s do it!”

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That made him smile. I really miss him right now, today, on Owen’s birthday.

I wish Georg could have seen Owen grow up. I wish he could have finished everything he had started.

Or, maybe no one ever does. Maybe that is what grandchildren are for, after all.


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