Sunday, April 20, 2014

Grandpa Shanks

me and my grandpaThis is my favourite photo of me and my grandpa.

I know I have shared it here before.

He passed away when I was 17, I was probably around 2 when this photo was taken, on Merrick Street in Smiths Falls.

Today is his birthday and while it's not the only day of the year that I think about him, I think about him often, it seems more significant to share a photo or a memory about him on April 20.

For the last few years of his life, my grandpa lived with us.  He had sold the family house in Smiths Falls and moved to Amherstview after my grandma passed away.  Him living with us provided my brother and I with a special opportunity my cousins didn't have.  Probably because he lived with us and likely because we were a bit older than most of our cousins, we have more memories about him.  When you live with someone every day, and, in particular, when you help to be a care giver to someone at the end of their life, you get to know them as a person and not a mythic grandparent.  I feel priviledged to have known my grandpa as a man, wise and honourable, strong and principled.  I wish that we had a few more years together, so he could have known me as an adult and so I could have known him better.

To me, it's almost unbelievable that it is almost 30 years since he passed away.  It almost seems unreal.  I take comfort in knowing that in the end, he understood how much we loved and respected him.  Happy Birthday Grandpa.

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