2017
two thousand seventeen
Twenty-Seventeen
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By John Addyman

   I had a dream last night…it made me smile.
   There was a long, wide corridor, with paintings on its colorful walls, comfortable chairs and sofas on both sides, and subdued light coming from windows and sconces. A pleasant, quiet place.
   Down the corridor ran two of my grandchildren – Lucie, 5, and Jeremy, 2 – laughing and giggling, leaving a pleasant wake of kid noise behind them. 


   They were running because they were going to visit Pop-Pop, a guy who would kiss and hug and make a fuss over them. Lucie would ask a jillion questions. Jeremy would climb into his lap and give him a five-minute hug.
   He is their great-grandfather. A very special guy.
   Trailing behind will be my oldest daughter, Amy, holding the coats the kids have shorn on their run down that long hall. When she walks into his room, she’ll smile at what her kids are doing.
   Pop-Pop will smile back, at the pleasure his great-grandchildren give him…at my beautiful daughter. 
   That’s my dream. 
   Friday, we move Pop-Pop out of the apartment he’s lived in, by himself, for years. He’ll have a new circle of friends at The Terrace in Newark. He’ll eat regular meals. Someone will make sure he takes his medicine. He’ll have access to activities the likes of which he hasn’t participated in for years. He’ll have people to talk to. And lots of family around, close by.
   Pop-Pop is 92.
   His three daughters gave him the news a week ago: he can’t drive anymore. He isn’t taking care of himself. He doesn’t care if he misses a day or two of his meds. He forgets things, some of them important. They have slowly gone from care-receivers to care-givers over many years. And now, Pop-Pop’s needs are significant.
   The closest daughter now is 150 miles away. After his move on Friday, his closest daughter, my wife, will be 1.3 miles away, available in five minutes. 
   We’d all love for him to stay in Scranton, where he has been for most of his life. But most of his friends have died. In fact, some of their sons have died, too. His associations and places to stop and talk have disappeared, one by one. He doesn’t have the stamina and balance to play his beloved golf.
   His universe has become smaller and smaller. We’re hoping The Terrace and his proximity to family and new friends will expand it again.
   As a parent, what I want for my children and grandchildren is boiled down to two simple things: I want them safe; I want them happy.
   Now, as a son-in-law, I want the same for the patriarch of our family. I know he has challenges ahead – adjusting to new surroundings and routines, finding himself in a new state, getting busy living again when we were starting to be concerned that he was losing interest in life.
   The move for Pop-Pop is just as difficult for his daughters. They know that of the many chapters in their father’s life, we are starting to turn the pages at the end of the book. They have been consumed with the busy-ness of getting him ready for the move, making all the preparations necessary to put things in order, and spending time with him to ease the passage.
   Friday night, we hope, it will all be done.
   Pop-Pop will settle in after a very tiring week, wondering what will happen the next day. Wondering what it all means. His daughters will gather around the table in our kitchen, wondering the same thing. Worrying, hoping for the best.
   He’ll get up late on Saturday morning – he likes to sleep in, after spending 50 years as a evening-newspaper delivery guy.
   Then he’ll hear a knock on the door. He’ll need a minute or two to get his bearings. And he’ll hear something he hasn’t heard very often.
   “Pop-Pop!!!”
   On the other side of the door, Lucie and Jeremy are waiting.
   His third great-grandchild, Jaden, isn’t far behind.
   The love goes on…
   

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