This is a bittersweet story about the last meal that I shared with my Opa (Grandfather) Scherer.
The occasion was a family brunch arranged by my Mother who was visiting us from Vermont. She had picked up my Grandparents; Oma and Opa, in Toronto, and we all had reservations for the ‘Pillar and Post’ a popular restaurant in Niagara on the Lake.
Right after I arrived, I found him sitting off to the side and alone while Mother organized the seating arrangements. Being in a wheelchair, Opa’s movement was somewhat limiting.
I could not help myself when I first spotted him. Immediately, I threw my arms around him kissed and his cheeks.
Drawing back, I could see that he was confused.
“I’m sorry,” he said apologetically, “but I don’t remember your name.”
This revelation didn’t upset me. Each moment I could spend with him was a gift, whether or not he could remember my name.
“My name is Doris and I’m your grandaughter and I love you very much Opa,” I said looking him straight in the eye, while I rubbed his shoulder.
Everything was good. It was all good.
“Yes,” he said as his countenance brightened.
“Of course, ….Doris,” and with that his bright eyes drifted away.
Within a few moments, we were told that our tables were ready, and we began to take our seats in the dining area.
I was to be seated next to my Grandmother, and Opa, my Grandfather would be seated across the table from me.
As I sat down next to Oma, we began to merrily chat while Mother went off to the buffet to get Opa his breakfast.
After a few minutes, she returned and placed his breakfast in front of him and then invited Oma to come and get hers.
As Oma got up, Mother asked me to take a seat next to Opa and pay special attention to him while he ate to ensure that he doesn’t choke. I sat down in the chair next to him and began to tell him how wonderful it was to see him again.
He put down his fork and turned to look at me.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “but I don’t remember your name.”
“Doris,” I said to him, putting my hand on his shoulder to reassure him.
“My name is Doris and I’m your grandaughter, and I love you very much.”
That’s all he really needed to know. Nothing else mattered.
Ah, …. Doris, “ he said as he began to turn his attention back to his breakfast…
15 years later, this bittersweet memory still makes me smile.