a defining life moment

i was talking to my mom on monday morning when she happened to mention that it was ten years to the day that my grandpa c died.

summer, 2001 - one of the last photos i have of me and g'pa

i was really lucky when i was little because grandma and grandpa c lived only a five minute drive from our house.

summer, 1970 - i love this photo!

i can’t even begin to relate all the good times we had at their place: sleepovers, family dinners and celebrations, pop-overs (ie quick little visits)…we were really close in more than just geographic distance.

g'ma and g'pa in an undated photo - early 70s, i am guessing

i remember spending more time with my grandma c than grandpa. grandpa had many interests: gardening, reading, church committees, and he would be occupied during the day with these routines (and don’t forget his daily afternoon nap!) while i enjoyed baking, playing, chatting with grandma.

family celebration for grandma and grandpa's 40th wedding anniversary

in the evenings, grandpa always watched the news, did a crossword puzzle, and during the season, was a loyal maple leafs fan (definitely influenced my choice of favourite nhl team!).

summer, 1980

unfortunately, grandma c passed away quite suddenly 24 years ago, next month (i was seventeen). after her death, though, i got to know grandpa c better, and in a new way. grandpa came over to our house pretty regularly for dinner and even hosted us, from time to time. i really admire that grandpa was a lifelong learner – he taught himself to cook after grandma died, and while some of his concoctions caused us to raise an eyebrow, he really managed to make a comfortable home for himself (ex: he went all out with christmas decorating!). what really impressed me was when he decided to buy himself a computer, and even took a course to learn how to use it! grandpa stayed current with the times!

christmas, 2000 - mom, dad, g'pa -> notice g'pa's festive sweatshirt - red for christmas!

the day grandpa died (at age 89, i was 31) remains sharp in my mind, despite the passage of ten years. we got the call early in the morning from his retirement home that we should come over. mom, dad, my uncle and aunt and i were all in the room with grandpa when he passed away. being present when grandpa died was a landmark moment in my adult life. it was a very emotional occasion – i remember sobbing uncontrollably – but it was also a unifying time – i don’t remember ever feeling closer to my parents, uncle and aunt. it really is remarkable and inexplicable to witness someone’s passage from this world.

please don’t interpret this post as a sad one! death is a part of the circle of life, and grandpa enjoyed a long and full life. i am so happy to have many, many fun and positive memories of times spent with my grandparents, and later, just with grandpa.i feel very blessed that they were such a part of my growing-up years.

florida, 1979 (i was nine)

[sidenote: grandpa loved going for a country drive, or driving around to do errands. and he never, ever took the same route from point a to point b, back to point a. i do the same thing now! walking or driving, i vary my route on the return trip].

i still think of grandpa c very often – daily?? and i always smile when i see something or get an idea that i know he would approve of. i bet you if he were alive today, he’d be on facebook!

did you live close to your grandparents, growing up? i was really lucky because i also had my other grandparents AND my great-grandma in my life, as a child!

what did you call your grandparents? all of ours were just “grandma” and “grandpa.” no nana’s or poppie’s!

~*~*~*~*~

november thankfulness:

(for wednesday november 16): yesterday i was thankful that vfbf joanne and i managed to fit in a 30 minute visit this week in order to maintain our streak of monthly get-togethers. we really had to work with our schedules and go back to the drawing board a couple of times to make this meet-up happen – but we did it!

outside of vincenzo's - such a gorgeous day, we were able to visit at an outside table!

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Comments

  • Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco  On November 18, 2011 at 12:23 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. You still feel it, even after so much time has passed. I called my mom’s parents Nana (still alive, knock on wood) and Papap (may he rest in peace). I actually have sixteen grandparents in total. That’s a lot. I know.

    • 1970kikiproject  On November 18, 2011 at 5:43 am

      thanks, kelly. papap->that is so cute. i love it. and wow! 16 grandparents – that is just wonderful. you can never have too much family.

  • Gina Unger  On November 17, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    good memories of a life well, and fully lived! i remember your grandpa well, cath and can’t believe how quickly time has flown by since his passing. i enjoyed reading your tribute post to him as it reminds me of my grandparents’ lives well lived, too. oh, and my grandparents’ names were like yours – no nanas or opas, etc. πŸ™‚

    • 1970kikiproject  On November 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm

      yes, i love how you knew my g’pa in real life, too, gina! i love how your family made a real effort to visit your family in manitoba and saskatchewan – and, again, i was envious of all the cousins you could play with! i bet your parents are excited for some grandparenting time when you come “east” at christmas time!

  • Zo  On November 17, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Aww, thanks for writing this, Cathy. It made me miss my grandparents (I could write my own “grandparents” post).
    We did live close by when I was growing up and I got to see my grandparents fairly regularly for a long time. I am lucky enough to still have a grandmother, who is in her 90s, but my grandfather died when I was 12. My other grandparents passed away when I was 32 and 34.
    I also had two “grandpa”s and two “grandma”s and just distinguished them by name.

    • 1970kikiproject  On November 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      thanks, zo – that is cool that you, too, lived close to your grandparents. i would love to read your own “grandparent thoughts and memories” if you are ever so inspired! i, too, have my one grandma left – we are fortunate, at our ages, to still have a grandmother with us!

  • Kate  On November 17, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I loved this post! So nice to see Grandpa’s face and remember all the details of how he affected our lives this morning. I remember him coming over on days I was home sick from school and spending the day with me. I particularly remembering playing scrabble at our kitchen table, Christmas at his house, and the pear tree in his backyard (random? maybe… haha). Happy tears πŸ™‚

    • 1970kikiproject  On November 17, 2011 at 10:54 am

      ((HUG!!)) thanks for sharing YOUR memories, kate – i am so glad you spent a lot of time with g’pa, too. isn’t it funny which memories stick in our heads?! i think you inherited g’pa’s love of scrabble – i missed that gene! πŸ™‚

  • Johanna B  On November 17, 2011 at 10:34 am

    As you know I grew up in New Orleans. My mother’s family lived in Kansas and my father’s family lived in Missouri. So I grew up without close contact to an extended family. You were very lucky to have spent so much time with yours. Your memories of times spent together were wonderful to read about. I missed a lot by not knowing my family.

    • 1970kikiproject  On November 17, 2011 at 10:52 am

      i am so glad that you are able to be a part of baby ivan’s life, johanna! it is wonderful that you can spend time with him and your daughter. “they grow up so fast” -> such a cliche but it’s so true!

  • Stephanie  On November 17, 2011 at 7:20 am

    This is a lovely tribute to your grandfather. I wasn’t very close to my grandparents growing up. We loved each other, of course, but our relationship was a bit removed. It’s different when I see my parents with their grandkids. They have a deeper relationship than I had with my grandparents.

    I live so far from family, that i worry that when I have kids, they’ll feel removed from their grandparents. But I do think that it’s much easier now to maintain close relationships from a distance, with lovely things like Skype.

    • 1970kikiproject  On November 17, 2011 at 8:31 am

      isn’t skype the best? i, too, think how wonderful it would have been when we were kids to have skype, email etc (grandma and grandpa c were missionaries for three years in africa when i was 2-5 years old). glad that your parents have fun with the grandkids! it’s a special bond.

  • Johanna  On November 17, 2011 at 6:52 am

    What a fabulous tribute to Grandpa C, Cathy. We didn’t live as close to my “oma’s” and “opa’s” growing up as you did and remember being envious of you and your close relationship with yours. I have a very, very fond memory of Grandpa C reading “Pilgrams Progress” to us at vacation bible school. As an adult now I realize that it is not light reading but the way Grandpa read it, it was one of the most engaging book I’d ever enjoyed (as evidenced by the fact that I still remember it!).

    • 1970kikiproject  On November 17, 2011 at 6:57 am

      thanks, jo, for sharing your memory of grandpa! he really was a gifted storyteller. unfortunately, i did not inherit that gift (i cannot even tell a joke in the right sequence!). i envied you with all of your cousins!!

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