In Loving Memory

We had some trouble with Grandpapa’s tie. There was a lot of looking to find his ties, given that he didn’t wear them every day. I was asked to choose some ties from my Dad’s closet to bring, just in case.
Whichever one we chose, it would be the last tie he would ever wear.
He lies in his casket, missing the one thing that made him himself – his smile.
Son sourire était vraimant spéciale.
I stood in my Dad’s kitchen, after going through my Dad’s closet, and gazed out at the field, the trees, the birdfeeder. Grandpapa would have liked the view. He would have sat at the table, a cup of hot orange pekoe tea steaming at his elbow, and watched the birds, a gentle half-smile on his face. He wouldn’t have said a word – just watched, sipped, smiled.
Completely content.
Tout à fait heureux.
He was a man easily content.
Il était bien dans sa peau.
Always curious.
Il cherchait à savoir – sa curiosité lui définissait.
Quiet.
Il ne parlait pas beaucoup.
With that smile.
Un sourire sur ses lèvres.
He was a man who knew himself.
Il se connaissait.
We didn’t know which tie to choose. It had to be practical, but fun. A little daring. Of course, it had to look good, Grandmaman would have to approve.
Grandmaman avait le dernier mot.
He used to make his own ties, out of leftover material from Grandmaman’s sewing. So that he could match her. Or maybe just for fun. Just because he could. It probably started because he was curious how they were made, or curious about how a sewing machine worked, or curious to see how outlandish a tie Grandmaman would let him get away with wearing.
He loved to try new things.
Les nouveautés l’intriguait. Il aimait toujours apprendre des nouvelles choses – surtout les essayer.
Especially to make others try new things with him.
My Dad tasted his first Austrian sausage, and European beer, at Expo 67 with his Dad.
That summer, Grandpapa couldn’t get enough of Expo 67. He had a season’s pass, and went as often as he could. To visit. To explore. To see.
Visiter pour lui impliquait tout. Il voulait tout voir, tout faire.
He would hear some music coming from somewhere, and had to go find it. No matter how far it was. No matter who was with him. No matter how long he had to drag them along behind him. If there was music, he was on his way.
La musique était centrale dans sa vie – surtout avec la danse!
Expo 67 enchanted him. So much to see, to hear, to taste!
He’d try anything.
But he didn’t like lasagna, or spaghetti. But head cheese, ris de veau, cretons, blue cheese? Oh, that was good. Kidney stew. Anything that could smell up the kitchen. Tongue. Oysters, pickled eggs. Pickled onions, pickles. But not just anything pickled – just the unusual stuff. He was gourmet. He’d bring home things like rabbit and brains from the store for Grandmaman to cook. Didn’t matter whether she knew how to cook it! It looked interesting, so he wanted to try it.
Lorsque je sens la senteur forte du fromage bleu, ça me fait toujours penser à Grandpapa.
So what tie would suit him? How could you possibly sum up this man, all that he is – was – in a tie? You can’t.
He would need a tie though. He wouldn’t want to look less than his best. Presentable. But without too much fuss.
He didn’t like fuss.
He liked peace.
Il était tranquil – il appréciait la tranquilité.
He loved family.
Ah! La famille.
His children, his grandchildren, his greatgandchildren. All kids, all babies. The children always came first with him.
He always wanted people to feel welcome, loved.
Un accueil chaleureux – c’était important.
He grew roses in the garden for Grandmaman, a special corner just for her.
He took the kids on special outings, just him and them – everywhere. Anywhere.
He loved company.
He especially loved to have company to go to his favourite spots with him. To have a smoked-meat sandwich with. To take the boat across to Vieux Montreal with. To go see the flowers growing along the sidewalk. Just because they were there. Because they made him smile.
Il aimait aller visiter des nouvelles places avec quelqu’un – pour partager l’expérience.
He was quiet, yes. He was a man that it made you happy just to be with. To sit, and have a cup of tea, and watch the birds with. A man who loved to share a good view.
Today, he’s not wearing his smile. He’s just wearing a tie.
Grandpapa, époux, Papa, frère, Dad, mononcle, cousin, Greatgrandpa, ami –
Thank you for finding the music.
Merci pour les sourires, et les caresses.
Thank you for painting what you saw, so that we could see it too.
Merci pour ton amour.
Thank you for visiting.
Merci d’avoir partagé ta vie avec nous.

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2 comments so far

  1. […] my Grandpapa’s ashes this week. He’d asked me, before leaving, if he could read the piece I’d written for Grandpapa’s funeral when it came time to open the urn. He thought […]

  2. moosilaneous on

    Merci, mon amie.
    Merci d’avoir partagé ton amour avec nous.
    He evidently rests well, in the peace of the good.


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