Forgive me readers for I have sinned. It has been nearly seven months since my last confession.
Why the absence? Well, there are surely a few reasons I could give but it mainly comes down to one thing – I have been avoiding it.
June came upon me so quickly this year and June is always my favourite month. There are three reasons for this.
- As a kid, June always brought the end of the school year. I didn’t even mind exams. I was always a good studier so I generally got good marks (with the exception of math of which I am still a terrible pupile.) As an adult, June is one much closer step to the beginning of my yearly holidays.
- Of course, the other obvious reason is that June is the lovely introduction to summer. In Nova Scotia, this usually means a lot of rain but every now and again you get that warm enough day to drive home with your windows down. And there’s nothing like the smell of rain drying in the sun. Summer means swimming outside, camping, hiking, road trips and best of all, bonfires on clear starry nights. Nobody uses their phone during a bonfire. The outdoor fire pit is one of the only remaining places in our modern world where humans actually connect. There is so much to love about summer.
- June also happens to be the month I was born meaning I get to selfishly enjoy a showering of affection from my friends and family. I always had the best birthday parties. Swimming in the pool or at the lake and camping outside. Or more recently, renting cabins and traveling to PEI to stay in our family cottage. But since I’ve moved to Nova Scotia, the very best part of my birthday was getting to spend some time with my Grandpa Basil.
My grandfather was born on June 24th and my date of birth happens to be June 23rd. Astrologically, that means we share the same sign – cancer – but more importantly, it meant that we got to share cake.
When I visited my grandfather for our birthdays this year, I knew something was different. He was distracted, he looked tired and his usual carefree, happy nature was lacking.
Exactly a month after his birthday, on July 24th, my grandfather passed away.
I’m writing this now because I’ve realized that when he left, he took a part of me with him. I now understand the meaning of ‘broken heart’. I know that might sound cheesy but when I think of him, my chest hurts and my stomach feels like it’s going to fall out. I feel hopeless and my world seems smaller. So I get it now – I know what it means. A part of you had broken off, that part that belonged to someone you loved and you won’t ever be the same.
I’ve tried to keep busy since it happened. I fill my weeks with activities, events and initiatives – at work and at home. I find it hard to be alone because that’s when I think of him most. I don’t want to not think about him, it’s just painful sometimes.
Basil was an amazing man. He was unique. I’ve never met (and never will meet) anyone who comes close.
In all our time together, not once was a harsh word exchanged. We loved each other without abandon. I thought the world of him and he thought the world of me. I know how lucky I am to have had such a relationship, and I wouldn’t trade our time together for anything in the world. But it’s really hard. I think about him every day.
I guess if you’re reading this, you’ll understand if sometimes when I show up to your house, I’ll have red rimmed eyes or I might not enjoy the holidays so much anymore. I am happy and thankful for everything I have, of course, but this is going to take a long time.
On a happier note, I’ll soon share some words with you that I shared following GPB’s funeral. It made some people smile and I think he would like that.
Thanks for listening