Dear Stuart,

Wow. So much happens in a day, even when you don't go very far. 

Today, as you remembered, is Nonna's birthday. I think she would have been 89 this year. We went to the 8am mass that was in her name, and the 43 degree temperatures made it feel like spring!

The Occupational Therapist Melissa came in to see my grandpa and began with the question, "Do you feel any pain right now?" My grandpa responded the most appropriate way he knew how, which was, "Define pain." Without her response, he went into all of the complications and catch-22s of his current life-style and all the ways these things cause him immense mental, emotional, and physical pain. Does that answer the question?

The therapist's response, after lots of sad, understanding nods, "Do you wear eyeglasses?"

The questioning went on for an hour, and we set up an appointment to start "working on that arm to get you stronger and more independent. Ok?" 

When she left, Nonno shook his head and said, "Emily, you have to understand this. I've already overshot my due date. Let's not pretend we don't all know what's happening. No one can help me. This all just gives me something to do."

The hope I saw yesterday is not a hope in improvement, it's a hope in another life in another place. Hope is hope though, right?

"Don't cry when I die," he said to me. "I have lived a good, long life and I have no complaints. I want to be with your grandma."

I can't blame him. I love being with him, but I hate seeing him in such unending pain. That's my catch-22.

What a day to come home and receive a box from you with so many smiling faces, kind words, new books to learn from, and happy memories to revel in. You are so thoughtful and kind and amazing. Thank you for brightening my day, yet again, from hundreds of miles away. I LOVE YOU!