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Today’s post comes from Jake Kauffman, a professional writer helping his grandfather Robert Kauffman live out his bucket list.

My grandfather is quite the ladies man. In fact he has said that he only believes in beautiful women. “I should know,” he says, “I’ve dated about a dozen and a half of them.” I can’t make this stuff up.

Suffice it to say he kept busy. At least before he met my grandmother. You can call her Nane. His eloquent account of how they ended up together is quite simple — “I picked the best looking one and I married her.”

Wouldn’t it be great if she were around to hear that version of the story? I promise you the full account is much more sentimental.

Nane and Papa were together for 64 years and married for 61. That’s a lifetime for most people. They say over the course of a marriage you fall in and out of love several times. The remarkable thing about their marriage, as Papa recalls it, is that they remained in love the entire time. He fondly speaks of her to the point of tears.

It often makes me wonder if he spoke of her that way when she was around and how often he told her how he truly felt. I know Nane knew of and experienced his heartfelt admiration for her. That much was obvious. I’m certainly not questioning his love. But did he acknowledge her with such glowing language and admiration as he does now that she’s gone?

What would the world be like if we spoke this fondly about everyone we loved while they were still alive? What if we made a habit of it?

Jake and his grandfather Robert check out the sights in downtown Chicago.

I’ve noticed funerals are where we often hear the most admirable commentary about people. Their legacy and their character are wonderfully celebrated. For whatever the person lacked it is always their most notable features that are honored. Rarely do living relatives make any mention of the departed’s flaws. I think about all the lovely qualities the living speak of when describing the deceased.

It made me ask myself: do I extend the same adulation to the people I love the most? What if I made a habit of speaking to all those I care about with such reverence? What if we spoke to our loved ones as if they would no longer be here tomorrow? Can you imagine how much more love and acceptance would exist? It would create an entirely new world.

These are the questions I’ve begun asking myself as Papa gets older and I become more aware of what is truly important in life. We’re in the midst of preparing to launch a crowd funding campaign that will allow us to make progress toward completing the bucket list and inspire others to make authentic and intimate connections in their relationships. After all, we never know how much time we actually have.


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