Rest in Peace

Today I mourn the loss of a man I have met only a handful of times, but I am still deeply touched by his passing.

His name was Bob. He was Zak’s great-uncle – he married Zak’s grandmother’s sister. In the ten years since I met Zak, we visited his family a few times, and their warmth struck me. They always treated me as part of their family. Zak had not visited them much through his teenage years, and he reconnected with them more recently. We became closer to Bob’s granddaughter, especially after she got pregnant and had a son.

Bob with our son last spring

Bob with our son last spring

When our boy was born, though, Bob didn’t have great-grandchildren yet and he took a liking to our son. Right away, he started speaking French with him. I didn’t even know he spoke French, and I don’t think he had spoken it in a long while – he was pretty rusty. But I found out he grew up speaking French in Saskatchewan, and the fact that he cared enough to speak French to our boy, even though he seemed to be too shy to speak it with me, touched me deeply.

A year and a half ago, Bob lost his wife of 66 years. As you can imagine, it was a very hard time for him, and in the eighteen months that have gone by since, we saw an old, but healthy man who could still play soccer with our boy become a frail, elderly man using a walker and getting more confused with every visit. Last week he had a stroke and this weekend he went away. Apparently, he was getting tired of being old and sick and lonely.

Bob led a good life. He died at 93 and he had time to meet his great-grandson, who will be one next week. This little boy had become his pride and joy. Unfortunately he won’t remember his great-grandpa, but he’ll have photos and stories of how much Bob loved him. I’m glad my son had the privilege to meet him. My grandparents are long gone, but today I wish Bob had been my grandfather. I didn’t know him much, but enough to see how caring and loving he was. He was a great man. He will be sorely missed.

2 Responses to “Rest in Peace”

  1. ta vieille mère Says:

    je viens de lire ton histoire; je vous offre mes plus sincères condoléances à Zac et à toi; est-ce que ton fils peut comprendre cette disparition?

  2. sophie Says:

    On lui a dit que Bob était à l’hôpital et qu’il était très malade, puis deux jours plus tard on lui a dit qu’il était mort. Il n’a pas posé de questions, ce qui me fait croire qu’il n’a pas compris grand chose. Son expérience de la mort se limitait à nos poissons, je m’attendais à ce qu’il nous demande si on avait jeté Bob à la poubelle ou quelque chose du genre. Je crois que les questions vont venir quand on va retourner à Kelowna et que Bob ne sera plus là…