When we moved to Colorado, 7 ½ years ago, it enabled my Dad to come visit from Kansas and spend time with us, especially over holidays. He was 86 at the time and already unable to negotiate stairs. We set him up on the main floor of our home with a hide-a-bed couch and his own bathroom nearby. We bought an adjustable stool for the shower, the kind you get at a medical supply store. It allowed him, and us, to care for him better when he stayed more than a weekend. His trips grew less frequent with time, as his desire to travel faded.
We made trips to Kansas more often so we could see him. He loved seeing us, especially if he didn’t have to travel to do so. I probably enjoyed most seeing him interact with Emma, our daughter, his granddaughter. Every trip was a reminder of how blessed we were that Dad lived long enough to watch Emma grow into such a beautiful, loving, funny young lady. We were doubly blessed that Emma got to know Grandpa Jack and his love and unique sense of humor. It was indeed a bonus that he got to meet our foster sons, Branden and Henry. Branden, not quite a year old, sat contentedly on Dad’s lap the first time they met. There were a few more visits over the next several months. Branden was growing more and more independent as Dad grew more and more dependent. Four days after one such visit, the phone call came that Dad was gone. We returned to Kansas right away to celebrate Dad’s life and say our earthly goodbyes.
The white stool, however, remains in the main floor bathroom, no longer needed in the shower, but put to good use just the same. Two months after Dad’s death, Branden’s adoption was finalized. So thankful that Dad and Branden got to know each other a bit and we have photos of them together. Branden has repurposed the stool as his own. It allows him to wash his hands at the bathroom sink without any help. A simple, white, plastic stool has become a touchpoint for a grandson to his grandfather, as the grandson continues his journey to manhood, totally unaware of the legacy it symbolizes, at least for now.