My Grandfather is 89 years old today. That may not seem like a big deal to you or anyone else for that matter, but it’s a huge deal to me.
While I was waiting for Hunny to pick me up from Jury Duty (Yeah, I had Jury Duty and didn’t tell you. I don’t tell you everything, you know!), I saw a World War II Memorial. I read the names and saw a familiar one, William Harris. William Harris gave his life for our country. Another William Harris, my Grandfather, fought overseas and survived. It blew me away. My Grandfather survived, came back home, took a government job, met my Nana, married her, raised a family, and currently lives in Florida.
What if he hadn’t survived? Who would my Nana have married? Would she have married? Would the child she had instead of my father marry my mother? Who would their children have been?
Not only that, but consider this: my Grandfather’s younger brother lied about his age to join the armed forces and fight in World War II. He felt he had a better chance fighting overseas than fighting at home with their alcoholic father. Enlisted in the Navy, as was my Grandfather, his boat was bombed by the Japanese Air Force. There were no survivors. Robert was only 16.
My Grandfather’s youngest brother is no longer living. He died years ago. He warned my grandparents that his wife and her family were trying to kill him. He died the next day.
Something else that makes my Grandfather’s long life an insanely huge deal is that he has Alzheimer’s Disease. He was diagnosed over ten years ago. He lives alone and his closest family members live ten to twelve hours away. He has an active social life. He recently wrote to me saying he finally wants to move from a house into a condo. Alzheimer’s hasn’t seemed to slow him down, even though it slowly and maliciously tortured my Grandmother for years.
My Grandfather and I aren’t close. He never remembers my birthday. He obviously doesn’t know I have a blog. But if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. If he had died after my father had been born, I wouldn’t be the same person. He helped mold my father who helped to mold me. Since the incident, I am acutely aware of how precious life is and how tomorrow is never promised. Whether or not I see my next birthday, I am so thankful that my Grandfather turns 89 today.