It was September of 2003, and I rushed down the stairs at 6 months pregnant ready to run out the door. As I came around the corner into our living room I saw my husband hang up the phone. Before I could ask who it was, or what was wrong, he was walking towards me. I knew from the look on his face, but he hugged me and quietly told me that my grandma had passed away. My aunt was on her way over to pick me up so that we could go see my grandma at the hospital because the doctors had called to say that she didn't have much time left. I have always regretted not going down to see her the night before. The last time that I saw my Grandma before she started having memory problems, I was in trouble. I had snuck out with my boyfriend (who is now my husband) and spent the day in Toronto, without anyone knowing where we were. We walked back to my grandparents’ house to face our parents together and my Grandma met me outside on the sidewalk. She hugged me and said, “Jackie, just tell the truth. Be honest and you’ll be OK.” I kinda of shrugged it off at the time, but that was the last piece of advice she ever gave me. It has been 10 years now and I still miss her.
When her memory had started to fade she would often repeat herself. She would look at me and say, “Jackie, I love you.” I would smile and say, “I love you too, Grandma.” She’d smile even bigger and say, “I really, really love you!” She loved when we’d dance around with her or give her head massages, and she loved her great-grandkids. She became child-like in her last few years and I adored watching her play with Keona. She would let Keona do her hair and play dress up. The triplets were just babies, but she loved to cuddle and kiss them like they were her very own dolls. It makes me sad to think that my kids don’t remember her, but I find myself repeating her words to them. Every time I confront one of my children about something, I hear her voice and I remind them to just tell the truth. It’s no wonder that God wants us to “hide His word in our hearts.”
Tonight has been emotional. I’ll be honest- I am usually completely fine to talk about my dad, but tonight upset me. Ella was sitting at the kitchen table with my mom and I, and she asked, “Who’s your dad, Mom?” and I felt ashamed. I reminded her that my dad died when I was a little girl and she remembered with an, “Oh yeah!”
But it made me think… Maybe I don’t talk about him enough. Maybe I should put up some pictures so that my kids remember who their grandpa is. Maybe selfishly, without even realizing it, I’ve kept his memory to myself…
It has been 25 years since my dad passed away and I cried tonight. My kids like to ask me to tell them stories. Stories about when they were babies, stories about when I was a kid, stories that great-grandpa told me about when he was a kid… I tell them that they’ve heard ALL of my stories and I can’t think of anymore and they say, “Tell them again!” I have a limited number of stories that I remember about my dad, and honestly they aren’t my favourite to tell because they always make me wish that there were more. But I think I’ll tell them anyways. I think I’ll frame a few of my favourite pictures of my dad and hang them throughout the house. I think that I’ll bring my kids to see my Grandma and ask her to tell them some stories about my Dad until they feel like they know him a bit.
One of my favourite songs that I’ve quoted on here before, goes like this:
God's been good in my life
I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams when I go to sleep each night
And though I've had my share of hard times, I wouldn't change them if I could
'Cause through it all, God's been good
But I always had a hard time with that one phrase, “I wouldn’t change them if I could”-
Because if I’m being honest, there are a lot of things that I would change if I could… but I recently bought a CD of six sisters who had just lost their mother to cancer singing together. The very first song on the CD was “God’s Been Good” and when it came to that line they sang,
And though I’ve had my share of hard times, by my side He always stood
'Cause through it all, God's been good
And I thought, YES.
That I can sing and mean. That is my song, too.
I am so thankful for a God who has a plan for me. For a Father who has always been by my side. My kids know all about Him.
I’ll be working on them getting to know their grandpa better…
P.S. Light-hearted first day of school post coming up! :)