Three days after Remembrance Day, I still find myself surrounded by triggers that remind me of my Grandpa.
It started before the day – red poppies appearing on lapels around the city – when I came across a photo of him and I on Facebook. Deep in the abyss of the timeline, I stumbled across a photo of us all dressed up at my Omi’s 75th birthday.
On the weekend I played cards with my boyfriend. Grandpa and Grandma were real card sharks. They would play for hours on end, and even as his other faculties started to slow, it was always tough to beat Grandpa at cards. Late nights of Florida Rummy played at the cottage, picturing my grandparents playing alone, and the time I growled at him after he played a good hand (at which he cracked up and seemed genuinely amused – not exactly one of the prim, silent little girls of his time) all came flooding back into my mind.
Christmas has begun to enter our lives again, coming in from the edges; lights on houses, jingles in stores, Snap Chats of trees from friends. Grandpa loved Christmas. Religious, traditional, and crafty, he helped make the annual nativity scene in his complex with his talents for woodwork. I have a Christmas goose and (slightly terrifying) Santa Clause that he made, slabs of wood transformed into seasonal decorations. The painting may not have been exceptional, but we still display them proudly each year as unique, hand-made and sentimental decorations among the store-bought Santas and snowmen.
He passed away four years ago, while I was in my first year of university, but I feel blessed to have gotten the opportunity to know, love, and have such a wonderful man as my grandfather.
He served in the Canadian air force during WWII. Of all the stories I heard from him, I never heard much about his time enlisted. Still, I remember. I remember what he believed, what he did, and what that meant for my mom and her siblings. What it meant for the country.
While I may not support war (and don’t see the real issue with white poppies) I think it’s important that we remember. Remember to remember so that we don’t forget. Remember to remember so that we learn. Remember to remember so that we can change.
To look forward we must look back.
I love you, Grandpa. I miss you. I remember you.