Monday, June 15, 2009

My Cuppa Coffee II - Grandfathers and families

[04 Sep 2006 | Monday]

Current mood: contemplative
Category: Life

So strange to see a bulletin from Sarah about the loss of her grandfather today. I truly feel her loss as I was also particularly close to my Grandpa Ulrich (who I was named after). I can still vividly recall many "special moments" even though it's been over 20 years since they departed. Sarah, I hope you have many vivid memories of your Grandpa many years down the road.

I also transported a friend's grandfather to MCRMC ER earlier today at their specific request. I have known her family for the past ten years and her grandfather and I have had a few beers and chatted over the years. She was particularly emotional. At first, as I saw her as we approached her grandfather's house, she was tired, scared, and upset. She felt very relieved that someone who she trusted implicitly would be caring for her grandfather. She doesn't trust too many people, but she trusts me to make sure that her family is well taken care of.

Crazy as all this seems, my Uncle Paul, spending the summer with us, asked me about my Grandpa's briefcase tonight. My Dad and his brothers and sisters (Uncle Paul is his older brother) try to get together once a month for dinner and to catch up. Well, apparently one of the siblings asked about the briefcase. Grandpa's briefcase holds his life's work. The family tree.

I've had the briefcase for several years (probably going on ten, now that I think about it). I had inherited my grandfather's quest to trace the family tree and received it (I'd say inherited since I'm named after Grandpa and none of my other 28 cousins wanted to do it). I did a little bit of work on it way back when, but it has been sitting in my closet for the better part of those ten years, mainly because life happened and priorities changed.

So, for the better part of the last couple of hours, we've been reminiscing about Grandpa and Grandma and wondering about the whole family tree thing. Those vivid memories came flooding back. They were very welcome.

Cosmic forces aligning or coincidence, it just doesn't really matter. What I do find (probably so not) amazing is that those of us in our profession have such a connection with our extended families and those of our friends. Unless I'm just unique in that respect, which I sincerely doubt.

It seems (to me anyways) that I have some sort of need to not only know my friends, but to know their family as well. I guess I would categorize it as a desire or a need or requirement or something to that effect. I don't know all of my friends families, but those I do know, I consider to be an extension of my friend(s) and therefore it is almost an obligation (on my part) to get to know them as well. And I've done my best to do that, partly because of that obligation, partly because I just want to.

Having been summarily "adopted" by Nicole's family, Kimmy's family, and John's family (see my history); I feel particularly blessed and honored. "Uncle Mikey" to so many friend's children is a honorary I feel particularly proud of. And I'll be damned to have it any other way.

If I were to have a legacy that I'd be proud of passing on to my children and to history, it wouldn't be necessarily that I was a paramedic and I touched many lives being a paramedic, but that I touched so many lives and I was a part of those lives, regardless of the reason.

I also sometimes wonder whether I'm setting myself up for much sadness and grief when those friends and their family members pass away. I guess I might. But I also know that that would only be an excuse. My life is much more enjoyable and fulfilling to be a part of their lives and if that's all that it means then I want to be that person. To "make a difference" whether it's as a paramedic or as "Uncle Mikey."

God Bless you all,

Uncle Mikey

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