It was Christmas when my Grandfather, or Papa as we knew him best told my Dad “I’m going to see Bill Inch this year.” Bill was Papa’s lawyer who had died over 10 years before.
He was 84 years old, a good run by anyone’s standard. Papa left us well prepared and peacefully on April 15th, 2006 at about 7:20 pm. I can only imagine how it felt for him, having literally lived through history as a bomber crewman in WWII, and for the rest of his life as humanity fumbled its way through the rest of the 20th century.
This the first time someone so close to me has died. It was quite comforting how prepared he was for it. We went to see my Grandma the day after. We read out the obituaries Papa had written to send to newspapers in the places he had lived in Abbotsford, Nova Scotia, and Ontario. I was told that the memorial service would be held at the same restaurant where my family and I used to go for pancakes after church.
I am very thankful for being able to know him for this long. When I was little, Papa was one of the few adults who would greet me with a firm handshake instead of a hug or kiss. It made me feel like an equal instead of just cute. There are many memories from the hobby farm he used to run. He taught me how to cook Dungeness crab at the cabin in Birch bay, and he helped me catch the first and only trout I ever caught at the local hatchery. I think his greatest gift of all was simply his presence in my life. I wouldn’t be the same person without those memories, and we are all not the same without him.