Author: Karen Copeland
My dad was not the kind of man who enjoyed very young children all that much. Especially ones that were a bit on the whiny, loud or screechy side. I can’t say as I really blame him too much. It’s not like these are enjoyable sounds!
This made visits a bit awkward when my children were younger. They were not the “sit quietly and listen types” that would be preferred by my father. And yet, somehow we would find a way to survive each other!
There was one particular visit that will always stand out in my mind.
We had decided to make a spur of the moment trip out to Alberta to visit my family. Our kids were in grade one and Kindergarten at the time. It was during this visit that something magical happened.
My son, who typically has great difficulty with new expectations and changes to routine, and my Dad, who generally could not tolerate loud and noisy…well, they figured each other out! Truthfully, I think they figured out they had a mutual love of watching golf, billiards and bowling on tv.
My son spent hours on Grandpa’s lap that week, they would talk about a great shot by Tiger, or celebrate a strike by a bowler. They would laugh together and it was so amazing to hear them talking with one another. Creating that bond that can only happen between a boy and his Grandpa.
It was hard to leave to drive home at the end of the week. We promised we would be back in the summer, and my Dad even suggested that a trip out our way might be in order.
We got a call from my mom the day after we arrived back home. Dad had a stroke early that morning, and it was not looking good. He passed later that night.
To say we were devastated would be an understatement. It hit my son especially hard. Despite his young age, he knew what this meant. He knew he would never see or talk to Grandpa again. He cried and cried and cried. All we could do was hold him, hug him and share memories with him.
Even now, seven years later, we still have moments where grief settles in, and my son and I will spend time reminiscing about Grandpa. It astounds me sometimes how much my son remembers about his Grandpa, and how that one relatively short visit had such a tremendous impact on him.
As hard as it was to lose my Dad, I am so thankful that he and my son had their moments together. That my son has such amazing memories of his Grandpa! While the details may fade or get fuzzy as time goes on, the memory of how my Dad made him feel will always remain.
My son and I were talking about Grandpa just recently. Sharing stories and memories. My son said “You know Mom, if Grandpa was here right now, we’d be going to Dairy Queen to get a Banana Split. Because remember? Grandpa said he loved Banana Splits.”
You’re right, my son. He sure did.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.