Today I find myself unable to speak. With all the words available to me, I can’t seem to make them work.
In the last few years, I’ve followed your life through Facebook, messages, phone, and distance. We were a world apart, but we’ve always been connected. We are family.
When I was young you would read to me – so many stories of fantastic and strange places. You took me on adventures, and you’d make skating rinks in the backyard so we could play shinny together. I still remember all the summer trips we took to the dump together. It seems silly now, but those were good times. Simple times. Dropping off a couple bags of trash and returning with another trailer load of treasures. And you were so thrilled to show me how you spliced all those old vacuum cleaner cords together simply so we could have a light at the end of the road because you were worried people couldn’t see. You always cared so much for others. You always saw the good in everything.
I had so hoped to catch up with you once the world had opened up again. Talk face to face, play a game of crib, and meet my fiancée. I think you would have approved.
I would have liked to go fishing with you again. That week we had spent together in Kipawa has always stayed with me – one of my fondest memories. The time we spent in the boat talking while the rain poured and poured. Staring at the clouds and identifying each tree. The fish we had caught, such “large” catches. We both knew we weren’t winning any prizes that day, but we had ourselves convinced of our “manliness” anyway.
You’re the one who first inspired me in the arts. I was always amazed at how easily and gracefully you were able to write. It came naturally to you – words flowed on the page in mere minutes, and you always found a way to make it sound thoughtful, considerate, and beautiful. And when words weren’t enough, you put your thoughts on canvas. Your paintings are a treasure trove of adventures, trips, and travels. An endless record of a life well spent. And while I’m able in both pen and brush, I still have much to learn. I only hope to continue my journey and make you proud of the person I’ve become – of the person I hope to be.
You are a loved father, grandfather, great grandfather, mentor, and a good man.
There’s still so much left unsaid.
But the truth of it is that there’s never enough time; never enough words.
My biggest regret is that I couldn’t talk with you one last time. That I didn’t get to spend one more day with you and that I didn’t get the chance to tell you I love you again.
I just want you to know that I’m happy. I hope you know that.
And maybe, if the universe allows it, we will see each other again.
Rest easy, Grandpa.
Image Credit: Stanley Wootton (1929 – 2021)