We take for granted that our family, be it immediate or distant, will always be there for you. This past month, we said goodbye to my grandfather. Those of us who deals with “end of life events” daily, through our choice of work, are not protect from the hurt, tears, and upheaval when we lose one of our own.
For me, one of the hardest moments, was sitting at his funeral, listening to the member of the Norweigian Consul to NS, Steinar Engeset, speak. It was then that it really hit home, I was never going to hear my grandfather speak with his thick accent again. I remember wanting to learn to speak to him in his native tongue, and tried to get him to teach me. He had laughed, and said something to me that I was suppose to repeat. Well, I didn’t know how to make the sounds needed, so that is where the lesson ended.
There are many memories that will comfort me as time goes on. Each spring we would venture outside, under the cover of darkness, to dig those night-crawling worms, so we could go fishing the next morning. I’m amazed we ever caught anything, because I can’t imagine that I shut up long enough for the fish to come near us. But we did catch some. My prize was usually catfish, which we brought home, alive, and I tried to keep them as pets.
There was car drives through Lunenburg during the Christmas season to look at all the houses with their bright lights, sitting on his lap while I played with that dreadful stuff called playdough. Napping outside in the old rubber dingy I would make him inflate for me every chance I got. Waking up to the smell of breakfast when we stayed over, and no one could fry hamburgers like he could. And the list goes on….. Knowing how to do my advanced math homework, way better then I did, when I was in grade 11. Eating all of his Jello-Pudding-Pops and hiding the evidence, thinking that he would never find out. He did, and just stopped buying them. Raiding his hard candy tin. Or how he used to tease me that when I was little I used to say, “Sandy, grampy. I want sandy”, and how it took him a while to realize I meant candy.
My grandfather, John, was born in Bodø, Norway. There were always symbols of his home land around when we were growing up. Many a Christmas, my sisters and I would dress up in our Norweigian dresses, then later, my daughter Megan, and Katherine’s daughter Mila, would wear the same ones.
I guess the reason why I am writing this, all stems from something that happened yesterday. While at the curling club in Bridgewater, my daughter called over to me, and said, “Mom, can I get a new broom head? They have one with a Norweigian Flag on it.” Well the answer to that was a no brainer, of course! My grandfather had curled for many years. Although he didn’t get to see Megan curl in person, he did see many pictures of her in action.
This weekend, as Megan and the Bachman Team head into another provincial tournament, Megan’s broom will don the symbolic flag of Norway. I hope he is watching, and I would like to think, she will curl for him.
Jeg elsker deg, grampy!