Yesterday Nanna Sue, Alex, our oldest grandson and I went to the Harborside Fly By coffee shop in Kodiak, Alaska where Alex lives with his brother sister mom and dad.  Dad is a SARS guy at the coast guard  base and Nanna Sue and I are spending a month with our crew.  We were having latte’s and a hot chocolate when five year old Alex ran over and said “I love you poppa, I love you Nanna Sue.”  Of course we both responded with “I love you too Alex.”Alex’s words echoed the same wonderful words we’d heard from all of our grandkids many times over during the past three weeks.  
     My mind flashed back to a time just 14 months before in a hospital room in Columbia, SC.  My dad laid there in intensive care, a respirator did his breathing, an external pacemaker kept his heart beating and we knew we only had a matter of hours left with him.   Surrounded by the people I love the most in this world, wife, mother, sister, aunts, uncles and cousins, I struggled with everything in me to say the three simple words to my father that I’d never said before and that he’d never said to me.  It wasn’t like I never say those words.  I say them to my wife of 28 years every day, I say them to other family members, to my three sons, to my grandkids.  I say them to people at church, even to the guys I hang out with, without a blush or stutter I can hug a 250 pound buddy and say “I love you man” no problem.   So why did I find it so hard this time?  I wish I could say that I have the answer.  I know I loved him and I know he loved me.  We’d proven that to each other a thousand different ways, but yet we had never said it.  It would be easy to say it doesn’t matter if we say it or not, but Alex had just reminded me how much it really does matter to say and hear those three simple words.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Love in Kodiak