The feeling, the sights, and the sounds are imprinted in my mind forever. Laying on the couch in the family room in the Palliative Care unit, my mother telling those of us who were taking in a small nap that it was time. Panic set in, and nothing could prepare me for the sadness that was to come that night and in the following days.
Never before have I felt time fly by faster than this past year. 365 days have passed and not one day went by where I didn’t think of him, think about that day, and think about how soon he was taken from us. May 9th, 2011 at 12:45am my beloved Grandad passed away after a long and tiring battle with cancer.
Everything in the two days leading up to his death and the week after are so fresh in my memory it seems like it only happened yesterday. Getting the phone call before work that it was time for me to come to Saint John to be by his side, the emotions that ran high in the hospital room when he took his last breath, the eyes that were on myself and the rest of my family the day of his funeral, then exactly one week after his death standing in front of a thousand people accepting my university diploma fighting back tears knowing he wasn’t there. I can easily say that the passing of my Grandad was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through thus far in my 23 years.
My Grandad was a great man. He took pride in his family, and adored his grandchildren. He was our leader, and would bend over backwards for any of us. I can still picture him standing against the glass watching Brad play hockey, watching through the fence as the four grandchildren soaked up the summer sun in the pool, and distributing the Christmas presents from Uncle David's Christmas parcel on Christmas day, fixing his glasses to read the small print that David put on every present. I remember all of those things just as much as I remember Grandmom sitting at his bedside holding his hand as he struggled to take his last breath and she whispering "It's okay" "It's okay, you can go." I admire their 50 year marriage that was fully of love, support, and encouragement - I aspire to love someone that way someday.
To my family, this has no doubt been a difficult year. I believe we have become stronger and closer over the last year, and Grandad would be very proud of us and how we have dealt with this great loss - for me, my first. I know he is watching over us everyday, brimming from ear to ear with love and pride. I could not have gotten through this year without you all, and I always know that through thick and thin you'll always be a phone call away, always and forever.
To Grandad, I miss you everyday. You were nothing but supportive and encouraging of me, and I missed you terribly when I walked across that stage to accept my diploma. Despite you physically not being there, I could feel you smiling and whispering to me "Way to go, number one Granddaughter!" And as another degree nears its ending, I will feel you once again as I cross the stage, and I will look up and wink, because this one's for you. Love you, always and forever.