The things that I know.

It’s 12:36 on a Thursday night, but it’s okay because this is holiday time. It should be okay at any time; feelings are important. I’m here, tears in my eyes, thinking about my grandfather.

As I type, my grandmother is sleeping in her bed, where she’s been for over five years since my grandfather died. At first I wrote ‘passed on,’ but I’m still not exactly sure where or what we pass on to.

I’m sitting here wondering what my pop would think of of what I’m doing in my life today. If he’d approve of my choices, my work, my hair, my truck, every last little thing. I know he’d poke fun at me for still being fat haha. I can joke about it now, but it was a tough pill to swallow growing up.

I remember shortly after he died I visited his shed alone. That’s where I go to remember him, where I remember him best… leaning over the counter tinkering with a wood project. I walked into the shed, no longer alive but still with the same scent, and the floor made a big crack sound. I burst into laughter then and there, that was his way of saying, “yep, still fat I see.”

I don’t know why all of this is coming to me now at this time. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s because my Nan’s health is on a steady decline and we’re all pretty powerless to stop it. I have very fond memories of both my nan and pop, ones I’ll hang on to as the days get harder.

When I was leaving home for the first time (my failed attempt at art school circa 2004) pop wanted to speak to me alone. This was a buzz amongst the family because he never made such a request outright. I recall the blisteringly hot day sitting down on the steps outside, Aunt Lucy peering through the storm door. Pop took my hand and told me to ‘be a good girl,’ and handed me a roll of quarters. He said, “I want you to promise me one thing,” and I said, “name it,” and he said, “Never ever ever, ever, start smoking.”

Some of you might have read that and had a little chuckle, some of you might have taken it super seriously; me, I took it seriously. I’ve never had a cigarette in my life. My pop smoked and chewed tobacco for many many years and this caused him to have severe lung problems. While it was not his cause of death, it caused him to have breathing problems and he suffered every day because of it.

There are things that come to my mind daily that make me thankful for the lessons my grandparents taught me. Sometimes it’ll be something simple; i’ll be standing in the doorway at the bar where I work on Friday’s and someone will blow smoke in my face or make a rude comment, and I’ll hear nan say, “turn a deaf ear to it…” or I’ll be preparing dinner for myself and I’ll notice I’m timing my ingredients and stirring things the exact way my nan taught me.

Tonight turned into much more of an emotional time than I thought it would. As I sit here re-reading this blog post and thinking back on all the good and bad times my family has shared over the years I always come back to one thing: appreciation. I would not be who I am, where I am today if it had not been for the love of two ironbound Labradorians, two soft spoken, secretly funny, forever caring young people. I will always love my grandparents because they are me. And I am them. These are the things that I know.

M.

Gut feelings.

I try not to use this blog as a really personal venue, but tonight at 11:37 p.m., on a Friday after having a painfully long midterm exam week, I find myself in a very sad state.

Try as I might, I couldn’t get my dog Kimo or my grandfather out of my head today. If you’ve been reading along with my blog posts you’d know that both of them are no longer around.

I had an email pop up that I had a comment on one of the videos I have on YouTube, naturally I followed the link and I remembered “jeez, I have a lot of videos on here!” and I started watching them.

I came across a video that I forgot had existed. It’s of some of my family and I having a boil-up (Labrador picnic) at St. Lewis’ bay. My grandfather was in the video. I exploded in tears when I watched it, to see him moving was almost like he was still around and my mind switched to St. Lewis where I envisioned him sat in his chair by the window.

Then I watched another video, one of Kimo. I thought I’d only put a bunch of photos together when I made it but there are several short clips of video mixed in there as well. In some scenes Kimo looks directly at me in the camera and I couldn’t help but long to have him by my side, trying as hard as he could to jump up and lick my face.

It’s been a long stress filled week with exams, assignments, interviews and stories. If there’s anything I know, it’s that when you’re feeling like I am right now, which is really sad, you’ll know to treasure what time you do have with people in your life and start forgiving & loving again.

What I wouldn’t give to take myself back to the Christmas of ’10 where my life would have taken me to St. Anthony to deliver Pop’s Christmas present myself. I admit that I was selfish, that I thought if I had went there he would want to come with me to St. Lewis and both he and I would feel horrible because we both knew he couldn’t leave. I heard he kept my picture by his bedside and started at it for hours.

If you’re gut tells you that you should do something, you should probably do it. You’ll never know if it was the right choice or not, but if it’s done with good intent, it’s probably right. My move was justifiable, but I’ll never forgive myself for not going to see him that day.