I'm typing this on our return flight from a super-fast trip to visit Rochester, NY. We were in town visiting my Grandpa, who was moved relatively recently into a hospice unit.
I fly away from Rochester with two renewed insights. First, it's remarkable the power music has over us. I turned on Pandora, entered in Frank Sinatra, and out started playing "My Town" (or is it "Our Town?" The one about Chicago.) My grandpa, who at the time was basically unresponsive, started moving to the beat and absolutely showed signs of recognition. As my Dad said, the effect is absolutely primal.
Second, I know it's a popular sentiment that we've got our salaries upside down in this world. All the money and fame we lavish on sports stars and entertainers should really be directed to teachers, policemen, and others who serve our society in essential and often under-appreciated ways. I'm now certain that at the top of the salary chart, the Brad Pitt level, belong hospice aids. The people who feed, dress, sit with and give love to those who are fading from this world are amazing to say the least. I simply don't have the words of praise to offer up that can do them justice. I'm in awe. Of course I learned this once before with the wonderful people who took care of my father-in-law at Benincasa, but it didn't hurt to be reminded.
Of course it's sad to see my grandfather in decline. My whole life he's had a spirit and presence that was larger than life. He exuded a warmth and calm that always left me feeling as though everything was going to be OK. In his later working years he owned a clock store and had mastered the skills needed to repair and refurbish clocks. I'd like to think that part of my debugging skills come from him, who no doubt had to be an expert in troubleshooting systems. Sure, they were analog versus my digital systems, but the principles were no doubt the same.
We didn't do a lot of talking this trip, but his spirit, even if dimmed, was absolutely still there.
Below are some random snapshots I took throughout the weekend.
(Captions coming soon. Use your imagination for now.)