Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A glimpse of eternity...

Grampa died last week. I know, I'm late in writing this but the words just have not been flowing.

This is him as a youngster in primary school:

Cute. It's hard to imagine him being the child who would grow up to be my Grampa.

Grampa. It's weird, but he was never "Grandpa" in my head. He was always "Grampa." Not sure why. Not sure if it matters. But when I think of him in my mind, G-R-A-M-P-A is how it's spelled.

I am sad, because I won't see him again on this earth, but I also feel a bit like a kid caught sneaking candy because I know something. I'm going to see him again in heaven. He's probably laughing if he can see this, because I'm sure I had my hand in the candy jar at his house many a time as a little girl, and it was probably him that caught me. I was scared of him when I was little. Except when I heard the "Candy Man" song, and lined up in front of his chair with the other grandchildren and dogs to get our Smarties. We sat in a semi-circle. Grampa sang. I can't remember if he actually ever sang words, or if it was just the da-da-da-da-daaaaa. I should find that song on iTunes - it might actually have words!

Last Monday night, with tears in my eyes, I laid my head on his pillow beside his, and held his hand. I whispered, "Please find me when I come to heaven, okay, Grampa?" thinking that it might be the last time I saw him again alive.

Blaine and I went home, and I was prepared to make a middle-of-the-night trip to the Foothills Hospital at the news that his breathing had slowed and his time was short.

The phone call didn't come. So, we went back to the hospital on Tuesday morning, and sat with him. I kept counting the seconds between his breaths, scared that the time was becoming too great, and the last one would come, but all the while knowing that his body was too tired to continue trying much longer. When the last one came, I had reached 12 seconds, and heard my mom say, "He's gone." I felt like I could almost physically sense his soul leaving in that moment.

It was 08:45 on Tuesday, April 5, 2011, just 20 days short of his 81st birthday. And did he ever make good use of those 29,545 days. For one thing, he's a reason that I am here today.

He came to Canada as a spry, adventuresome 17 year old Scot. He was ready to make his mark on the world, and he ended up doing that with a successful career as a landman in the oil and gas industry. He also made his mark by marrying my wonderful Gramma, and having three fantastic children - my mom and two uncles.

Life with Grampa wasn't always rosy, but it was almost always funny. Because he was so smart, he always kept us laughing with his quick wit, and great sense of humour.

He was generous too. His favourite kind of generosity was sharing his life with us, and he was liberal in doing so. One of my best memories is a trip I made with him to Scotland in the spring of 2000 (it's hard to believe that it was almost 11 years ago!). He invited me, and as a typical mid-twenties, I thought I could come up with my own fun more than wandering around Edinburgh with my old granddad! Little did I know that he had a lot of fun up his sleeve. We went to the Edinburgh Castle, he took me to a shop where we dressed up in Scottish clothing and got our pictures taken, and he introduced me to my Scottish passion. He showed me his history (the tenement that he grew up in, his Grannie's house, his school, the park, and his vacation sanctuary).

Plus he gave me money to continue the rest of my trip!

This week he's gone from earth, but not from our hearts.

He met Jesus last Sunday night. And not at some kind of revival or crusade. He met Him in the quiet of his hospital room, after my mom asked him if she could pray for him. It was a request that he had denied for so many years, and that night he said, "Yes."

So she prayed. And he found peace. That's why I have peace, too.

Grampa, we are going to have such a good time doing the Whitson walk, and laying you to rest in your favourite part of the world - Blairgowrie, Scotland - in September. I know you must be smiling about it as we make our plans. In fact, you probably have the Internet in Heaven, and are already planning our trips for us. I'll be looking forward to that 20 pound note you'll leave under my pillow ;).

I'll always love you. Forever.


  1. Karen your words were so wonderful, you captured a time in your life and was able to share it so eloquently to the rest of the world. Bravo,... you ARE a writer.

  2. Such simple words create such an emotional impact. Thankk you for sharing a part of your grampa with me. He sounds lovely.

  3. Dear Karen, your words truly captured the essence of your relationship with your Grampa. It brought a lump to my throat and made me feel how important relationships are,and how each and every day should be treasured. Thank you for invoking that for me,and above all thank you for posting such a beautiful testament. xoxo

  4. Thanks for sharing you thoughts about your grampa, Karen. I agree with Dee - you are a writer!

  5. Just reading this now and it brought tears to my eyes. Such a heartfelt story, Karen.