Today, mom is gone having a good respite with good friends. Dad and I are just hanging out…chillin. As mom was walking out the door, she says, ‘here’s a box of old photos that you might like to go through.’ So, as dad starts pushing around his wheelchair, using his little Bissell 3 in 1 vacuum, I settle in to look over old photos. Old indeed. Many of these pictures have teenagers in them who are now grandparents. What a memory filled hour I had. One of the first things that strikes me is how many of these pictures have dad in them and how much my dad smiled. These aren’t look at the camera, count to three and smile pictures. A lot of them are candid, living life pictures (that dad just happens to be in) and he is always smiling. The other thing that stands out is how many people dad has touched in his life. There are pictures of so many, many people who have been impacted by my parents. Al and Sue, Inga and Rick, Aaron, Andrew, Debbie and Wayne, Joel, Scott, Brent, David, Miriam, basketball girls galore (over 20 years worth of bb girls). The list goes on and on. Pictures of family who I never really knew due to the miles and miles separating Ohio and Alaska. Yet, thru these pictures, you can see the bond that dad shares with his siblings. The way they all hold their heads when they’re laughing and that’s another thing you’ll see. When they’re all together, they’re laughing, especially dad and his brother. To be honest, growing up I didn’t hear about dad’s siblings too much. To be fair, I’m not sure there are too many kids who sit around asking questions about their parent’s siblings. I know I certainly didn’t and as dad has slipped into dementia, the stories that get told often leave me thinking…that can’t be right. Dementia can ‘jumble’ things and dad is no exception. I loved looking at the pictures of happier, healthier times. I was also struck again with how big my dad was. Sometimes it’s easy to forget in this new ‘norm’ that it wasn’t too long ago that dad was a big man, doing big things. It’s easy to loose site of the years and years of ‘better times’ gone before, especially when you’re in the trenches of watching his life ‘ebb away’. His life. I think that’s what struck me the deepest during this one hour journey down memory lane. I was viewing dad’s life. And he lived it well. And he is letting go of it well too. Dad’s hard on himself, which I find sad because he lived a good life which can be measured by the fruit that I saw through those pictures today. I recently had someone say this to me. “I can probably name on one hand the number of really good, good men I’ve met in my lifetime. Your dad was one of them.” Without a doubt, dad would say, that’s a testament to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I would add, that’s also a testament to you, dad. You allowed yourself to be the hands and feet of Jesus and you’ve done it well. I think it would be an almost impossible task to name all those people who were impacted by my dad. Just one hour of looking through pictures was enough to assure me of that. So many, many people he gave up his time, energy and resources to help. If someone were meeting him today, for the very first time, I think it might be hard for them to believe that dad was once a large man. A large man with a huge smile and an even larger heart, who loved nothing better than to be able to help people.