Those were the last words I heard my Pappy Sands say to my wife, Kelsie, last week.
Kelsie, Myka, and Emery have lived with my Dad and Gail for the last 3 months. They also lived with Pappy Sands and Grandma Bev.
A year or so ago my Pappy Sands and Grandma Bev moved into the basement of my Dad’s house. Pappy Sands has Alzheimer’s.
In September, when I left for Saudi Arabia, Pappy Sands didn’t remember me. I was ok with this, I understand the disease. For the next 3 months he kept asking how I was doing in Spain. He was regularly reminded that I was in Saudi Arabia.
Kelsie was a part of the family and support system for Pappy Sands. She spent quite a bit of time at home with the kids, which meant she was around sometimes when he needed help. She would occasionally have to run off while we were facetiming to alert someone.
Myka would regularly go downstairs and visit Pap and Bev and Bessy (the dog). She would return eventually on her own from the basement. She knew that when an emergency happened she was not to go downstairs until she was given permission. She would wait at the top of the steps patiently. She’s 3, she doesn’t do much patiently.
One day last week, Myka returned from visiting Pap and said “he’s not doing well, he’s sleeping a lot”.
Myka would talk to Pap at dinner. She was always happy to see him and say “hi” and tell him “I love you Pap”.
On our last day in Pennsylvania, she peaked over the bottom of his bed and said “goodbye, I love you”. He replied, “I love you too sweetheart”.
While sitting in the van ready to leave Gail suggested I go down and say goodbye, I declined. Then a few minutes later Dad appeared and said Kelsie and I should go downstairs, I obeyed.
That’s when I heard it.
“I appreciate all you do”.
One could analyze it. Did he know what he was saying? Was he actually referring to Kelsie? Did he remember that Kelsie had been around for the last 3 months? What was going on inside his head?
Nope, I simply accepted it.
Here was my Pappy Sands, one of the grumpiest, grouchy, persnickety old guys I know, thank my wife for all she has done.
It was awesome, it was sincere, it was real, it was true, it was the truth.