The Old Porch Swing

snowy swing black and white

Oh the stories this old porch swing could tell…

Of afternoon story time with mama and sons,

and little boy shenanigans, plots, and plans.

Afternoon breaks for dad and mom,

important decisions discussed and planned.

Moonlight kisses,

and engagement photos.

Tears shed while swinging,

both happy and sad.

Deep conversations,

and happy reunions.

You have carried us through,

and will continue to do.

Warmth: @ 51.364

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Warmth - Candle Glow & Christmas Lights

Weekly Photo Challenge: Warmth

Warmth….  Awwwwhhh….  Such a cozy thought this time of year as we begin Winter and prepare for the coldest months of the year here on in Mars.

There’s nothing like curling up on the couch under a fleece blanket by the glow of candlelight and a crackling fire – especially during the holidays with the twinkling reflection of Christmas tree lights adding additional warmth to the living room.  Add a nice glass of dry red wine – maybe 7 Deadly Zins or a nice Cab – or maybe even a stiff Bombay and tonic with a twist of lime or a glass of sweet syrupy Port or some brandy over ice (oops – I digress!).

We were talking about warmth – right?  (that’s this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge).

All of this is such a lovely scenario until IT hits….

Most women out there 45 years + likely know what I’m talking about….

The family is sitting together all snuggly – watching TV, reading, looking at our computers/iPhones/iPads – and IT happens all of the sudden – out of nowhere.

My face becomes flush from the neck up, the fleece gets thrown off, the ceiling fan goes on, and I say (every single time – completely shocked and surprised – as if it were the first):

“Is it HOT in here or is it just me?”

Warmth is an understatement when IT hits!

But then, usually in less than 2 or 3 minutes, IT is gone.  The blanket gets pulled back up, another log on the fire, another sip of…..

Oh the joy of HOT flashes as I celebrate life,

New Year’s Eve,

and my (GULP!) 52nd birthday…

Today!  🙂

Warm Cheers & Hugs,

PS Why 51.364?

Well, unless you are reading this close to midnight on 12/31/14, I am still 51 – and hanging on to it as long as I can…

According to ancient folklore, I was born very close to midnight – almost 1/1/63 – – –  8 minutes or 12 minutes or something close to that.

So, I’m much closer to 52 for my Australian friends than my Martian friends.

But really – 51 – 52 – what’s the difference really?! Especially when IT hits!

The truth revealed – my imperfect life


So I know I post a lot about what a great life I have…    I try to share the “good stuff” and the “happy stuff.”

But we ALL KNOW life is FAR from perfect – Right?

Mine included!

I’ve had a few people say things recently that have made me feel a bit uncomfortable – like “I’m living vicariously through you,”  “Your life is perfect,” “Do you ever sleep?”

Really and truly – that is not my intention.  Please know my life is not perfect – not even close!  I get plenty of sleep – 6-7 hours every night (though dangit – I have tried to make due on less as I feel sleeping is SUCH a waste of time)!  And there are many other people worthy of living vicariously through than me!

I just happen to share the good times, the things that make me happy, the things I enjoy at “life in between” here with all of you.

When I originally started my blog, finding the right name was important, and was born out of my desire to share the fun stuff, the good times, the crafts and hobbies and joys that occur in those moments “in between” doing all the things that are drudgery, the things we all have to do, the crap we all deal with.  My intention is to encourage readers to seek out these special moments that are within all of our reach if we just look for and allow them.

Behind the scenes – – – you don’t see the many burnt, under-baked, or misshaped cookie…

more flopped “gourmet” dinners than ones worthy of sharing (like a recent pork roast that had all of our mouths on fire from a teensy bit too much cayenne pepper)…

crookedly stamped or finger smudged cards tossed in the trash….

or how I have been trying for days to arm knit an infinity scarf!  (I am going to master this yet though!) 🙂

I don’t like to share photos of myself.  I have cellulite, humongous feet, chubby cheeks, a short neck, squinty eyes with droopier and droopier eye lids, crooked ears, and new wrinkles and crinkles appearing every day.  I am at that ridiculous point in life where I need reading glasses to see things up close, but then when I look across the table or room, everything is blurry, so off with the glasses, or down onto the tip of my nose like a granny, or up on top of my head completely ruining any type of hairstyle I am trying to maintain.  Then there are the hot flashes that cause my face to just glisten and glow for no good reason, and typically at the most inopportune times and ALWAYS between 7:30 – 8:00 pm EVER SINGLE evening!

Shall I go on?  There is plenty more self-deprecation I can share…

My mom is alive, but we sadly don’t have a relationship, along with some others from my family who I love, but can’t have a relationship with for my own mental health and well-being.

So don’t envy or want to emulate, but do join me in seeking out the good, the happy, the joyful, the simple pleasures, the cherished moments that make our life (in between and otherwise) good.  Because it is there – within our reach – for all of us.  And it doesn’t take much.  Like maybe a box of M&Ms with a note on to our postal carrier to thank him or her for the “Miles and Miles” they travel every day to bring us our mail (granted most is junk or bills – but remember – we are keeping positive here!) LOL!  🙂

payitforward2014 mail carrier miles and miles mandms

Check out that mailbox we have!  Not so perfect – eh?  Quite embarrassing actually!  But I’m hoping I brought a smile to my mail carrier’s tired face today, because our mail still wasn’t in it at 4:30 pm, which means he is having a very long day!

payitforward2014 homefront hugs hero christmas wishes ornamental pine

Or send a card to someone serving our country over the holidays (feel free to send one to Christian – our Homefront Hugs Hero for the “payitforward2014” Jingle RACK Challenge).  I crafted this card on the blank card Jill sent, and Marty is writing the note.  Plenty of bloopers on this card, but you know what we say in the stamping/cardmaking world???  A mistake is an “Opportunity for Embellishment!”

It’s all about looking on the bright side – knowing we all have dark moments, tears, loneliness, grief, heartache, imperfect families, imperfect bodies, burnt cookies, and flopped dinners.

But there are plenty of awesome things to celebrate, and I hope you will join me in seeking them and embracing them, doing your best…

at life in between…

Cheers & Imperfect (but very tight) Hugs,


jodi mckinney lifeinbetween

Sharing & Owning Up to all the Wrinkles, Crinkles, Sags, Droops, Chubs, & Squints – Up Close & Personal


I’ve been blogging a little over six months now here at, and I can’t believe how much I am enjoying it and how much I am learning…

about blogging, writing, technology, but most of all about MYSELF!

I thought it high time I build a Welcome (Home) Page for those that may visit and wonder what this is all about here.

It was fun pulling photos and linking them with the posts that I thought summed up my blog and my lifeinbetween.

Check it out HERE, and let me know if you think I hit the highlights or if I missed something important or should do something different. I did it very late at night and kept falling asleep in the middle of working on it!  🙂

I would LOVE your feedback, comments, questions, whatever you’d like to say or share –  as I grow on this journey of blogging and the never-ending journey of self-discovery.

Cheers & Hugs,



Smart Ass

We have been having a lot of fun playing board games again lately.

I have such fond memories of board games growing up.  I was a kid before video games and personal computers and cell phones, so when we weren’t playing outside or watching The Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family or My Three Sons or Hazel or The Waltons (who’s with me here?!) :), we played board games.  I loved Chutes and Ladders, Hi Ho Cherry O, Trouble, Operation, Battleship, Life, Monopoly….

operation giphy

Anyone else remember this commercial?

Playing board games waned as I got older and life got crazier (and when I thought I was too cool).

Then when I started dating Marty, I loved going over to his house, because his Mom loved playing games.  We played Trivial Pursuit weekly for years it seems.  (Oh – and often while sipping Bourbon Slushes!)  And hey – I learned important “stuff” – like how six shakes equals a “dash” of salt.

And when the boys were young, we played all the good ole’ favorites again.

We now usually play a few board games at our family New Year’s party with The Hendy family.  But for the most part, the games remain in the cupboard below the bookshelf – resting – and waiting…

Lately we’ve started playing Scrabble again.  Cold weather…. warm fires….  it all kind of works together – right?

scrabble liz fire(Pssssstt – Don’t tell anyone my letters, because Liz ROCKS at this game, and I need all the help I can get!)

scrabble nick hand(and do you notice that every stinkin’ letter is worth a whopping 1 point on my tile rack?)

And then we recently dug out Smart Ass…

It’s like a modern-day, fast-paced Trivial Pursuit in which “even if you’re a dumb ass, you can win!

smart ass

The goal is to be the first to shout out the answer as another players reads clues from more vague to more specific.  BUT – if you get it wrong  – you are out.  If you hang on until the end (when the last clue often gives initials to to the answer), you can almost always get it, but it’s usually too late because some other Smart Ass already shouted out the answer.  So you have to think fast, but balance it with knowing you are right and risking whether to shout it out or not.

So try your hand at this one in the “What am I?” (my favorite the easy peasiest) category.

  1. I was invented in 1904
  2. I am usually found in the kitchen
  3. I’m used in a cup or mug
  4. Ceylon is particularly famous for my contents
  5. I make a nice beverage
  6. I work with boiling water
  7. I’m a specific type of container
  8. I have dried leaves inside me
  9. I compete with metal strainers
  10. What am I, with the initials T.B.?

I’ll post the answer tomorrow if you haven’t already figured it out by #10.

Here’s a “Where am I?” (my least favorite the category I am least likely to get correct) question:

  1. I am a river
  2. My Celtic name probably means “dark river”
  3. I flow from the Cotswold Hills
  4. Charles Dickens wrote about me
  5. I am the main source of London’s water supply
  6. Upstream I have locks; downstream I have docks
  7. I flow past the Tower of London and Greenwich
  8. Oxford and Cambridge rowing teams meet on me annually
  9. London Bridge crosses me
  10. Where am I, with the initials R.T.?

What number did you get the answer on?  Would you have spouted it out or waited?  Are you a Smart Ass?  That is the challenge!

Timing is everything for the true Smart Ass.”  🙂


What’s your favorite board game?  I try to always buy a new game for our annual New Year’s get together – so looking for fun suggestions.

My other “son” Jake (Hendy) and I are total champs at Cranium and Pictionary.  Julie typically kicks our asses butts at ImagineIFF.   And PLEASE don’t ask me about Awkward Family Photos!!  Oh I do stink at that game!  I always feel so sorry for all the awkward ones….  🙂  And we have beat Cards Against Humanity to death.  (right Oh Rob?!)

So other than that….. we’re just makin’ memories of smart asses and dumb asses ’round these parts these days.

That’s what’s happening here at Life in Between….

Cheers & Hugs,





New Birthday Balls

I have to admit.  I love a good theme.
Party that is.


Birthday, holiday, any ole’ special occasion.

You would think I’ve had my fix raising my two sons, celebrating birthdays, creating Halloween costumes, being homeroom mom every elementary school year.

But nooooo – my boys are in their twenties, hubby in his fifties, and I’m still “theme”ing it up when I can.  They always harass me about it, but “I’ll betcha a nickel,” (as Pap used to say) they would be disappointed if I didn’t….

So when Marty said all he’d like for his birthday this year is some new RED felt for a beautiful gently-used pool table Nick helped him find on Craig’s list for the “man cave,” I couldn’t resist going with it.

The kids came over one evening while Marty was at a meeting and did an amazing job re-felting the table from an ordinary green to an extraordinary burgundy red.  (and saving me $300+ labor to boot!)

pool table red felt

Going with the theme, the boys bought Marty some beautiful new balls (which we had fun with all evening) 🙂 and some other pool table accessories.

pool balls

Of course I made a pool ball cake…

pool balls cake 1

…which consisted of RED velvet cupcakes (they don’t make red felt cake mix) decorated as stripes and solids (even if not the exact colors and numbers to match as was pointed out to me – and THEY give ME a hard time about my themes!?!) with white Necco wafers I numbered with black icing.

And you don’t want to know how many rolls of those things I had to go through to get 15 whites – that were NOT broken!?! 🙂 I now have a pint jar full of all the other colors if anybody has any creative ideas for using these little disks of hard sugar that pretty much taste like nothing.  (C’mon Jill – I know you’ve got something in you!!)

And by the way – no need to purchase all the different colors of sugar.  Did you know you can simply add a couple drops of food coloring to a scoop of sugar in a jar, shake, and Voila! – colored sugar!

pool balls cake

And, of course,  I had to make a little card to go along with the theme too.

pool table cake

I got lucky and won ONE game of pool….

and ZERO games of “Smart Ass” – but we sure had a lot of fun.

Happy Birthday Merv!

Cheers & Hugs & Lots of Love,

Painting with a Twist

“Who has more fun than us?”  That’s what my buddy, Oh Rob, always says, so I try to live up to it as often as I can!!  🙂

painting with a twist 14I was so fortunate to be invited to the Grand Opening and Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony of the new Painting with a Twist in Wexford from a dear friend, Matt, who’s sister, Amanda is the proud owner of and that he will be managing.  I was allowed to bring a guest, and since Marty declined, my BFF, Jill, was my fun date for the night.

painting with a twistWe got to be the very first artists to break in the easels.

painting with a twist 2Look at this gorgeous cake.  And the Food!  Ooooo  Laaaa Laaa!  They outdid themselves.  I feel bad I forgot to get a photo.  Matt made the MOST AMAZING Pesto Penne Pasta with Feta and Roasted Red Peppers.  I was much too busy eating it to remember…  (ooops!)

painting with a twist 3 Amanda was such a gracious host, and I am so happy for her and her family.

She couldn’t find a pair of scissors to “cut the ribbon,”

painting with a twist 4so she used a knife!  WHACK!

painting with a twist 5What started like this….

painting with a twist 9Ended list this.

painting with a twist 6So much fun to have Jill by my side while we simply enjoyed ‘creating together.’

painting with a twist 7It was unbelievable how different each canvas looked doing the same painting with the same instructions.

painting with a twist 8Talent – Schmalent – I think it has more to do with the amount of wine….

painting with a twist 10Amanda was just radiant, and I smile looking at this photo of her.  Isn’t she a doll?!

painting with a twist 11So I’m not an artist – but I sure had fun.

painting with a twist 12And we even got PRESENTS!

painting with a twist 13

Thanks Matt and Amanda for a very fun and memorable evening!  Congratulations on a beautifully executed grand-opening celebration.  I know you are going to be a huge success, and I look forward to coming again soon.

If you would like to learn more about Painting with a Twist, check out their website and/or Facebook page.

And tell them Jodi sent ya!  🙂

Cheers & Hugs,




Fall Christmas Shenanigans

shaker 12

It was a girl’s field trip day on Saturday to Northeast Ohio for Christmas in the Woods!

Yep – more Christmas shenanigans!

What fun we had getting our Christmas crafting inspiration and shopping on.

Then, we topped our day off with a card-making / stamping class and dinner at Selah Restaurant in The Vault!

Check out the fun atmosphere that Shakerwoods turns into for Christmastime – 20 years strong now – – –  but my first time.

shaker 11

It was a cool day with sprinkles off and on, but that made it all the more “Fall” like and got us in the Christmasy spirit.

shaker 8

It was Colleen’s first trip to any kind of Arts & Crafts Festival like this.  She loved it, and I loved having her along!  We have such similar tastes and interests that make it so much fun to be mother and daughter “in-law!”

shaker 10

We had a ton of fun with some of my old Middle School friends, Janet and Judi – and pretty much acted like we were back in Middle School.

Well – maybe just I did!

shaker 13

The trip was organized by my friend, Stacey Ailes, who is a Stampin Up Artist Extraordinaire (check out her website/blog if you haven’t already).  Stacey did an amazing job corralling 11 women for a 14-hour day of adventure.

shaker 2

Colleen immediately spotted The Burlap Factory and ran so fast over to it, I could hardly get her picture!  LOL!  🙂


The whole experience and scenery was just breathtaking.  From the little Chapel in the Woods…

shaker 3

to the little Shaker School House….

shaker 4

where Colleen found the outhouse, but alas someone was already in it.  (She is such a sport for posing and going along with my silly shenanigans!)  ❤

shaker 7

Janet spotted this beauty for me to capture along our walk.

shaker 18

The day was filled with beautiful scenery, tasty treats, and all kinds of fun and friendly people…

shaker 17

Like this cute couple who were willing to stop and pose for a photo in their fun hats…

shaker 6

or this lovely lady who I asked how she could eat ice cream on such a chilly day.   I came to find it was a Steamy BBQ Chicken and Mashed Potato “Sundae” with a cherry tomato on top, of course!

shaker 15

One of the highlights of the trip for many of the ladies was a B.E. Taylor concert right smack in the middle of all the action where the beautiful Christmas music could be heard echoing throughout the woods.

shaker 5

We bought some fun things and got a lot more great ideas.  We’ll see if the ideas come to fruition…

Shaker 20

The wonderful guys at the Great Harvest Bread Company had the cutest bench by their booth that said, “If you Knead to sit or just Loaf, please rest your Buns here.”  Since they were kind enough to let me take a photo, of course I had to buy some bread.  Italian Herb for me, and cinnamon swirl for Marty.  (and oh by the way – DELISH!)


shaker 16

We passed on the fried pickles and fried snickers, but did enjoy an awesome reuben sandwich and sat with some folks who live right in our own hometown and are regulars on a different night at our hometown John’s Bar – so maybe we’ll see them again soon!


After getting inspired by the amazing crafters and talent, nourished body and soul with food and music, and spending enough money…

shaker 14

We ventured out of the woods and drove to Selah Restaurant in Struthers, about 20 minutes away.

shaker 21

What an awesome venue!  Graced with art, photography and design, Selah is located in a turn-of-the-century bank with a rich history that gives it a unique and charming character.

shaker vault 1

Stacey had reserved “The Vault” for our special class and dinner.

shaker vault 2

It was such a unique experience to sit in the charming setting of the old vault of the bank.

shaker vault 3

Selah kept a lot of the original architecture of the bank, including the teller windows, adding such unforgettable charm.

shaker vault 4

The Vault was softly lit with a dozen or more candles, which was wonderful for our dining experience, but a tad challenging for our crafting time.

shaker vault 6

But it was way too cute and quaint for us to complain about that since we loved the atmosphere – and the company!

shaker vault 7

Stacey does such a phenomenal job teaching newbie, beginning stampers (of which we had four) and challenging some of us more experienced with new ideas and techniques.  I sure admire Stacey’s talent, gift of teaching and sharing, and kind and generous heart.

shaker vault 8

What made it EVEN MORE FUN was the fact that I got to see an “old” friend from a few years ago when the company I work for had an office in Northeast Ohio.  Charlotte and I have kept in touch through Facebook, and she has become a follower of my blog as well as a fan of Stacey’s talent.  When Stacey came up with this idea, her and Charlotte connected on this venue, and they created all this wonderful magic.

shaker vault 9

Charlotte brought her forever BFF, and my new friend :), Carol.  They were adorable together.  They cannot remember a time when they weren’t friends.  You see, their parents were neighbors and they grew up together, went to school together, married high school sweethearts and still live only a couple blocks apart.

shaker vault 10

These were their very first cards they made.  They did an awesome job, kept us smiling, and really enjoyed stamping.

shaker vault 11

Judi also made her first card Saturday.  Here and Janet buddied up working on their projects.  Judi loved it so much, she wants to join our regular monthly classes at Stacey’s studio, so we are excited to welcome her.

shaker vault 12

Here’s Charlotte doing her first embossing, and these three chickadees were our seasoned pros!  Cindy has a great website and blog if you want to check out here amazing talent here.  I always appreciate Stephanie’s kind encouragement and comments.  Nancy is a new friend I made that is married to a long-time friend and work acquaintance of Marty (such a small world!)

shaker vault 13

shaker vault 16

We laughed our way through the evening.  (I was even hoarse by the time I got home!)

shaker vault 14

And of course we had to finish off the evening with some pumpkin cheesecake and carrot cakes to tide us over for the hour-long trip home!

shaker vault 15

Fun times with great ladies…

at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,




You Don’t Have to Try So Hard

Hello My Friends!  (this one is especially for the ladies – but I wonder what you guys think of this too?)

Last post for the day (and WEEKEND!).  Promise!  I’m going to take a break from posting this weekend and leave you all in peace without my interruptions :).

But before that, I just heard this song this morning and had to share it.  It touched me deeper than a song has in a long time.  And the video!!!  Oh Colbie – you hit it OUT OF THE PARK with this one.  This should be mandatory “start your day” inspiration for every young girl, teenager, new mom, wife, sister, middle-aged woman, senior-aged woman, fat, skinny, tall, short, no matter where you are in life and what battle you are fighting right now….  Brought me to tears.  Why do we do this to ourselves as women?  Love yourself ladies!  You don’t have to try so hard.  You are all beautiful!

“Try” (by Colbie Cailat)

Put your make up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim
So they like you. Do they like you?

Get your sexy on
Don’t be shy, girl
Take it off
This is what you want, to belong
So they like you. Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
You don’t have to try


Get your shopping on,
At the mall,
Max your credit cards
You don’t have to choose,
Buy it all
So they like you. Do they like you?

Wait a second,
Why should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself
Do you like you? Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to bend until you break
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
You don’t have to try


You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
You don’t have to try

Take your make up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you.


Thanks Colbie!  I like YOU!

Cheers & Hugs,



Pap’s Best Day

pap last day

Today’s Assignment for #Writing101:  Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation. For a twist, include foreshadowing.

Something made me stay a little longer that day.  I wasn’t in my usual hurried, harried mode on my weekly visit to the nursing home.  This visit was surprisingly more enjoyable than the “chore” it sometimes had sadly become of late.

Time seemed to fly as Pap (my father-in-law) and I talked and laughed and reminisced.   Marty even called to see where I was since I was “taking so long.”  But Pap was so excited to share what a wonderful day he had and tell me about his very special visitor.  Nancy, his “favorite” niece from Illinois, had surprised him that day with a visit.  They went for a walk – him in his scooter with the orange safety flag, wearing his favorite chicken hat Colleen had bought him with his beautiful niece by his side.  He proudly introduced her to every person he knew that worked, visited or lived within scooter driving distance of his room, and he begged to have a picture taken to commemorate the day.   He could barely contain his joy and excitement telling me about the fun they had, the laughs they shared, and the joy she had brought to his day.

“It was the best day,” he said.

Pap had been sick for quite a while.  He had more than his fair share of “close encounters” throughout the 33 years I had known him (and even before that).  Yet somehow he managed to outlive his beloved wife of 52 years, and even more heartbreaking, his only daughter.

Lately, Pap was in and out of the hospital more times than we could count.   Moves between assisted living and skilled nursing were becoming the norm.  Pap was getting tired.  He said he was ready to go.  But when breathing got labored due to his CHF and other problems arose from his minimally functioning kidney, he panicked.  He just wanted to “stick around” a few months longer for the upcoming wedding of his grandson, Jake and his favorite girl, Colleen.

It was time to have “the talk.”

In life, there are a few very important “talks.”  There’s the “birds and the bees,” continuing education decisions, marriage, children, buying a home.

Then there’s the BIGGIE:  Death.

The “How do you want to spend your end-of-life journey?” talk.

Now I’m in the hospice business, so I am extremely comfortable talking about these important decisions and discussions.  Until it’s MY family…

I struggled.  Marty anguished.  We called in expert assistance.

We thought we were getting through, then Pap would talk about dialysis and kidney transplants.

We were obviously not being very effective.

And Pap kept bouncing around from hospital to skilled nursing to assisted and round and round.

This particular day I visited, he was in skilled nursing after a recent episode in the hospital.  I left feeling good.  Pap must have said it a handful of times:  “It was the best day.”

Fast forward four short hours.  The phone rang.  Pap had experienced a “turn,” and he wanted to go to the hospital.  He was struggling to breathe.

Marty asked the nursing staff to please not send him.  “Please keep him there.  Keep him comfortable.  Let him know we will be there in 15 minutes.”

When we arrived, Pap’s favorite aide was on one side of his bed, holding his hand, stroking his cheek.  Another aide stood empathetically behind her.  Still.  Silent.

Our eyes met, and theirs began to glisten.

“He’s comfortable.”  “He’s relaxed now.”

They left us to have some private time with Pap.

Marty rubbed his once larger than life, but now frail and thin Father’s arm.  He garnered all the poise and grace and dignity a 53-year old, 6 foot, 3 inch tall working man’s man could muster, and whispered, “I love you, Dad.”

“You have been a wonderful father, a devoted husband, a loving grandfather,” he said.

“It’s okay.”

“It’s okay to let go.”

“Mom and Maureen are waiting for you.”

“We will miss you, but it’s ok.”

Pap took his last breath.  Marty had one hand.  I had the other.

“It was the best day.”