December 11, 2011

And then, there were three . . .

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 9:59 pm by letterstoelias

I always felt beyond lucky to have all four of my Grandparents in my life, for all my life.

Not only were they alive for all my life, they were a part of it.  Living a stone’s throw away most of the time.  Holidays, birthdays, big events – they have there for it all.

In recent years both of my Grandfathers have had declining health, memories.  In time, they each moved into the same care facility.  My Grandmothers have spent their days going to and from their homes and the care facility to see their husbands.  And I would visit them every time I made a trip into town – perhaps not as often as I’d like, but at least a number of times a year.  Birthdays, events, and just because.

Not just a part of my life – a big part.  As such, I knew that once they were here no longer it would be extremely difficult.  Somehow I almost got to believe that they would just always be there as they always had been.

But for one, as of last night, that time has come.

I try to take some comfort in knowing that he’s got some good company with Elias now (and go back to my dream with him offering me comfort), but – regardless of the length and quality of his life – I love him.  I miss him.  I’m sad.

And my Nana’s heart is breaking.  Death still sucks.

I saw my Nana today.  A little over 12hrs from the time he died.  I saw myself, 2yrs 7mos and 3(ish) weeks ago.  Not entirely, but in many ways.  I know that pain well.  Too well.  And, I must admit that it’s brought up some of mine that has been untouched for a while.  Widowed at 32 or 88, it’s deep, deep pain.  To the core of your being.  And, having lost a son over 30yrs ago at Christmas, December was already a difficult time of the year for Nana – now even more so.

I heard platitudes said to her (and me) that I’ve grown to dislike so strongly, and I wanted to whisper (ok, shout) that doesn’t help! but, I know the intent is good (and that some people actually do feel comfort in some of them) so I let it be.  I took in scene in the room and watched my Nana, with blurred remembrance of my ‘first day’, and my heart broke for her.  I heard her words, not unlike many I had spoken.  Feelings that there is no fix for – thinking that if things had gone different that day, maybe he would still be here.  Nothing I could say would change how she felt about that right now.  I know that.  I’ve come a long way from that point, but it still haunts me from time to time.  All I could offer was an ear, understanding, love, and reminders to be gentle with herself.  It took me so long to understand what that meant.  I hope she figures it out faster than I did.

And, my Grandpa.  He was a lovely, lovely man.  Quiet.  Sweet.  Funny.  Cheeky.  His bright, cheery eyes and laugh solid in my memory (along with his loud sneezes!)  It’s little known Canadian history, but his father and uncles created Canada’s first flying machine in 1907 – people often seem to think I’m making that up, but it’s true:

A member of the Canadian Air Force – earning the nickname ‘CB’, standing for Confined to Barracks, as he was a bit of a trouble maker (can I say shit disturber?)  Married to my Nana for just shy of 67yrs (and I’m likely remembering it wrong at this point but I believe there was a story about their marriage starting with a ‘bang’ as an airplane hangar they were in had an explosion on the day they were married . . . ).  A loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather.

I’m glad the girls had time to spend with him now and then.  Even on days when I couldn’t make it, my parents would often try to take the girls when they would go and visit.  Last night C said, “Papa Howard brought us happiness, but now he died” and they both have offered up that now he’s with Daddy and we have decided that Daddy would be taking good care of him.

I know we have a lot to look forward to with Elias’ brother and family coming in from Norway for a few weeks over the holidays – and I don’t want to take anything away from that – but I really do wish I could just ignore Christmas.  Just before the phone rang last night with the news, I was staring at photos of Elias on the fridge, amazed at the fact that this will be our third without him.

I wish I had a better way to close this off, but it’s been a long day.  A tiring day.  A sad day.

I love you, Grandpa.  I’ll miss you.


P.S.  I Love You



  1. Anne said,

    I am so sorry to hear that you have lost your Grandpa. He sounds like a wonderful man. I am sure he will be greatly missed by many.


  2. Diane said,

    So sorry for youre loss.

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