It’s amazing how grief can hit you. For me, today, it was watching JT’s Mirror video and seeing how in love the older couple was. Today is coincidentally, the eve before the anniversary of my grandads death. It’s also, the anniversary of the last time I got to hear his voice. The day before he died, I called the hospital to see how he was doing because he had suffered several seizures the previous day and he was in an induced sleep when I went to visit before I drove back to Toronto. When I called, they told me that he was awake and alert and if I wanted to I could talk to him on the phone. That was the best phone call of my life.
Anyway, in honour of Grandad, I’m going to list off some of the things I learned from him while I could:
- Always go for the joke. If someone gives you an opportunity to make a funny, take it. Relish in it.
- Find someone to love and love them forever. Grandma and Grandad met in high school, but Grandad was too shy to really talk to her. Luckily, when they both got on the train to head to U of T, Grandma went up to him and sat with him. They talked the whole way from Windsor to Toronto. From then on he had the courage to keep asking her out. They married in 1943. For the last 12 years of Grandads life Grandma suffered from Alzheimer’s (she still is suffering). He sold his house and moved into the building she was in just so he could be an elevator ride away. He visited her everyday he was healthy enough to. He loved her. God did he love her.
- Family is so important. Even extended family that you haven’t met that often. Love them just cause.
- Make sure your partner is your best friend and balances all of your quirks. Grandma and Grandad had a wonderful marriage. Nearly 69 years. They were best friends. They were totally different from one another. They were perfect in a totally imperfect way.
- Live well. My grandparents tried to see as much of the world as they could.They liked sailing so they bought a boat. They liked Muskoka, so they bought a cottage. They were smart with their money though. They never lived beyond their means, and never were too over indulgent.
- If you like shuffleboard, have it built into your basement floor. What’s that all about? They loved family and entertaining so much that they turned their basement into party heaven. They had a pool table, ping pong table which doubled as a train set display and that wonderful shuffleboard floor. Growing up, there were never complaints about going to Grandma and Grandads, because their house was AWESOME!
- Embrace technology. This man had a cellphone before I did (he was in his 80’s), owned one of the first ever Macintosh computers, and in his last year, his biggest gripe was that his laptop wasn’t working.
- Always keep learning. Education was very important to my grandparents. They really valued and respected it.
- Be friendly. This man died at 94 years old and managed to fill an entire church. He filled the church because people loved him. He was special. He was friendly. He was funny. And he all around cared about people. Plus, he had an amazing charm and wit about him. And, a grin that was killer.
- Travel. See the world. Go to other continents. Visit family. On Grandad’s 94th birthday, he hopped on a plane to spend Christmas with our west coast family. He even arranged to have his dialysis there and was upset he could only stay for two weeks because that’s as long as they’d permit his out of province dialysis.
As you can see, I am one of the luckiest granddaughters out there. He made an effort with all of us. He wanted to know us. And he lived long enough that we were all able to know him as not only our grandfather, but as a person. We got to see him as a wonderfully flawed human being, who loved. Just loved.
I really miss him today. I really miss him everyday.