Not long ago, I heard you take a call from a man wondering if his young son should see his dying grandfather. I had a similar experience fifty years ago. My grandfather was a kind and giving man from Italy. He was so thankful for being in America that he would occasionally joke and say he was born in America and not in Italy.
He grew his own vegetables, made his own wine, and gave much of it away. When we would visit him during family gatherings, he would greet us by sitting at the kitchen table playing his guitar and singing. I learned from him that being thankful and bringing meaning to others' lives was a better path to happiness than a life focused on self.
Back in 1968, his health deteriorated, and he ended up in a local nursing home. Children under 12 were not allowed visitation in those days. My father, however, decided that it was still important for me to see him. He took me to the outside of the building where my grandfather was and knocked on the window. My grandfather responded with a smile and a wave. The happy and peaceful look on his face will be forever imprinted on my mind. Even facing death, his personality eclipsed the despair he was facing, and to this day, while my memory of that day is brief, I have something to hold on to that allows me to stay clearly focused on my heart and giving to others than the more obvious and inescapable idea of death. Thank you for what you do for all of us who listen.