Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I Don't Know What to Say*

I'm tired and I really should be in bed. I was up at 5:30am to take my aunt and uncle (my mom's brother) out to the airport this morning. It's a testament to how much I love these people that I was up that early. They were here for a couple nights at the beginning of their vacation and a couple of nights at the end. We were really happy to have them and Willie (please see previous posts) as they are and have always been, my coolest aunt and uncle.

Thank you everyone for the kind words about my grandfather. I like to think that I'll write more about the service when I have more time, but I don't know... I should just do it now. I'm sorry if this is a bit scattered.

Andrew and I went to Parrsboro last Monday afternoon. There was family visitation at the Funeral Parlour that evening. My grandmother was heartbroken, that's the only way to describe it. When she hugged someone that she knew well, she would bury her forehead in their shoulder. Andrew is a tall man compared to my grandmother and she looked so little when she hugged him. It makes me teary to think of it. It's hard to imagine saying goodbye to your partner of 67 years.

Dad and my step-mom spent the night with Andrew and I on Glasgow Mountain. My dad owns the land where my grandfather was born. I think it was important for Dad to be up there... I know it made me feel closer to Gramps.

We stayed in the little camp my great-uncle built. There is no running water or electricity. We sat up and chatted for a while, but went to bed fairly early. Andrew and I took a moment to stand at the front door and admire the stars. I woke up around 6:30am the next morning... I think Dad was coming back into the camp after a walk at that point. He told me it had been just him and the deer out there that morning. I made a run to the "biffy" and then walked to the top of the "mountain" on my own. I only passed a small pile of bear "dirt".

Now, Glasgow Mountain is not a mountain in the "Rockies" sense of the word. It's more of a foot hill or "toehill" if you will. (Please excuse my spelling tonight, again, I'm sleepy and therefore lazy.) But regardless of its elevation, the view from the top of Glasgow Mountain is phenomenal. You can see for miles! You look across the Minas Basin (Part of the Bay of Fundy) to Cape Split. The photos on this page do absolutely NOTHING for it. But I can't find my photos right now. I'll see if I can find something to post later.

So, I stood on the top of Glasgow Mountain in the brilliant sunshine and I looked in awe around me. Andrew and I used to go to Glasgow Mountain on our own every Thanksgiving weekend. I haven't been there when the blueberry bushes were green in many YEARS. It was beautiful. I grabbed some blueberries from a neighbour's field (meh, we're probably related to whoever owned the field, so I wasn't too concerned) and tried to imagine how my grandfather could ever have left such beauty behind. See, he and my grandmother moved to NB in the early 1970s. Then I realized - of course - my grandmother. She was much more beautiful than anything he could see from the top of that "hill".

We got dressed and then went in town to join up with the rest of the family. My brother, with whom both my dad and I have had a rocky relationship with over the last few years for reasons I will not ever go into here, was there. He and my dad have just restarted their relationship and I thought the sight of them in the same space together was going to make my heart burst. I gave him a big hug and then did my best impersonation of our mom and grabbed his tie, which was a little bit untidy and retied it for him.

The service itself was good. A lot of my dad's friends came as many of them also knew my grandfather quite well. There were quite a few family members there as well (cousins and such, some of whom I didn't know). The minister didn't know my grandfather but had spent some time getting to know us and learning about Gramps. He was very kind, and managed to portray my grandfather teaching my cousins to play poker in a good light. Hee hee.

I did the eulogy and as I said in a message I sent to Minou's mommy on our way home, The bad thing about doing the eulogy is that while everyone else is having a good cry, you're trying to hold it together, so you don't get that good cry yourself. My dad had written something for me to read. I read it first, because I figured that if I could make it through that, then I was ready to leap a tall building with a single bound. Then I read what I had wrote. I thought about posting the eulogy here, but I would rather keep it "private".

I'm really very lucky to have had my grandfather this long (he was 91), but there is some serious longevity in my family. Andrew's parents came to the funeral (which was very nice of them) and were in awe as he pointed out my great-uncle Lloyd, who, at the ripe age of 93, has decided to grow a handlebar moustache. He's got a good start on it and he may have one yet. (He was talking to us about this plan when he realized that his ride was ready for him. He excused himself and JOGGED to the waiting car. ) When I asked Uncle Lloyd to tell me how old he was again he said, "I'm 93, but I feel like I'm a hundred." Which is hysterically funny, when you really think about it. His father, my great-grandfather, lived to be 103.

My great-aunt Mabel was there as well. She's 94. She had a stroke a few years ago, but her mind is as sharp as a tack. She was determined to come to the service, so in she came with her walker. She gave my grandmother a big hug and then off she went to her seat. She's a dear woman.

Most of the younger siblings were there too. None of them really look their age.

It was really interesting for me to be in a place where people knew my grandfather years ago, before he left Parrsboro. The things they told me about him made me even more proud of him (if that is possible). It was nice to be around all that family too. It was neat to see the family resemblance in my dad's cousins. In my hometown in New Brunswick, my family was it. Just the four of us. We weren't related to anyone. So to be in Parrsboro, knowing that I'm related to a whole pile of people there, is strange and surreal for me.

Oh, after the funeral and the reception, my grandmother decided that she would like to go home and sleep in her own bed. I said goodbye to her and gave her a big hug. Then I looked at what she and her sister (the two members of my Holy Trinity) were doing - the two of them were sitting in the back of my dad's truck knitting socks (don't worry, my dad's truck has comfy seats. he wouldn't put his mom on a bench seat). I was so proud of the two of them and all I could think of was Elizabeth Zimmerman.

I have been knitting too. Here's the list:

1. Andrew's Fuzzy Feet slippers - they are awaiting a trip through the washing machine.
2. One Brainylady basic cabled sock - I immediately cast on for the mate. Can I tell you how much I love the short row heel? I even did a short row toe. Love it.
3. The Molly bolero from Junior Knits - needs to be blocked and seamed. Doh!
4. I started a baby blanket for one of the twins that are due in February (I think they'll come in January). Oh, here's the good news - the twins are a boy... and a girl! So I'm making a blue blanket and a funky orange blanket.

That's it. I'm going to bed. Again, thanks for all your kind words and concern. You electronic people are really caring, you know that?

*Um, I guess I did have something to say after all.


  1. YAH YOU ARE BACK! Sounds like you had a nice time.

  2. Thinking of you, Stephanie. I really enjoyed reading this post about your grandfather and your family.

  3. Glad you're "back". Your grandparents had 67 (!) years together? Wow. That would put Mr Moe and I at about 92 & 93 someday if we are lucky enough. I didn't quite appreciate what a devastating loss of a mate is until I became one. The whole thought of losing someone so dear and constant is heartbreaking.

    We'll have to get together soon so you can show me your FOs. I'm dying to see short row heels/toes. I've got some Koigu burning a hole in my stash. Good news - Lost doesn't start until 10pm on Wednesdays now...

  4. Sounds like your grandfather had a farewell that he deserved! Glad you're home and hope you can relax this weekend. I was surprised at how long it took me to get used to loosing my grandfather, he was also older, had lived a long life, and I had assumed I was prepared for the loss. It took me a while to adjust, I still miss him and feel so lucky to have had him. Jane

  5. Welcome back. My grandfather died when I was in Jr High and I lost both of my grandmothers before I was 23. (Many moons ago!) You are so lucky to have had your beloved grandfather for so long, and to still be able to enjoy the company of your grandmother and so many close relatives.

  6. Glad to have you back. It sounds like a lovely way to say goodbye, as hard as it must have been.

    It's nice to think of you blogging for the next 60-70 years!

  7. *very* belated condolences, Steph...