I don't know if I really appreciated Memorial Day until this year when I spent the day actually celebrating what the day was intended for. Ironically it took me spending time with a man who has Alzheimer's, Melissa's Grandpa Gus. Now Grandpa Gus has taught me many lessons, but today might just have been the best one yet.
We decided to travel to Price to spend the day with Grandpa Gus which we felt appropriate being the day we could celebrate those who have fought for our freedoms and those who have paved the way before us. We took Grandpa Gus to Subway where Grandpa was more interested in Parker than the Subway sandwich that set right in front of him. He also spiced up lunch by singing Parker some Italian tunes.
After lunch we took him to the Helper cemetery to see his wife's grave site. While driving there we wondered what would take place here considering the memory of Grandpa Gus. What then happened on an overcast Monday afternoon touched me and taught me an invaluable lesson. Upon reaching the headstone he broke down in tears while Melissa put his arm around him. Here I witnessed a man who at times would repeatedly ask me where I was working within a 5 minute time span to a man who could never forget the love and relationship that he had with his eternal spouse. Occasionally Melissa would reassure him of where she was and what she was doing and that we needed him here. Soon after this he looked across the cemetery to the nearby mountain and a rock known as "balance rock" where he turned to us and said, "you see that rock? You go straight down that mountain and at the bottom is our home." This was something he evidently was proud of as he repeated this with pride a few more times. Then it dawned on me, "you never do forget home."
Upon leaving the cemetery that afternoon, while pushing sleepy Parker in the stroller, walking side by side Melissa and her Grandpa, we quizzed him on some of the names on some of the headstones as we passed and true to his Itallian blood that runs through him was able to roll off the names while I was twisting my tongue. Before taking him back to the Heirloom we drove by his home that was "straight down the mountain from the balance rock."
We then went to Melissa's maternal Grandparents to see their head stones and pay our respects and tribute.
We finished the day at a BBQ with friends. As fun as that was, it failed in the lessons that I learned as we "truly" celebrated Memorial day. Surely this was one Memorial day that we will never forget.