on thursday afternoon, i said goodbye to an old friend.  my grandfather took his last breath around 3pm with my mom, my brother, his sister-in-law and me by his side.

in january, he moved into the veteran’s home in moncton.  he hated it at first – he was always independent and the thought of someone having to tell him when it was time to eat or to take his pills made him want to fight the move even more. eventually he started to like it – i think ’cause the nurses were letting him have some treats that he thought the other residents weren’t getting.

on wednesday, the nurses phoned mom at supper-time and suggested that we come down to see him.  she phoned me, and we were both on the road within minutes.  we spent several hours by his bedside that night, he was sharing stories and telling jokes and seemed to be doing fairly good.  i stayed by his bed until midnight, we talked most of the time.  i left that night praying for one more chance to speak with him.

the next morning, i was back by 7:30.  i could tell he wasn’t doing well – he was coughing a lot and was aching in pain.  i phoned to make sure my brother was on his way.  i sat there with him until 9am – just chatting and praying with him.  just before mom arrived, he looked over at me and said ’shawn, i’m ready.  i want to go home and dance with blanche.’

before long we were all by his side.  his doctor ordered a few tests to determine the pain he was experiencing.  just after lunch, the ambulance arrived to take him over for the tests.  as he left the room, we all said that we will see you soon, he simply responded ‘we’ll see.’  i went out to run some errands for mom during that time – i knew he wouldn’t be with us for long.  as i was walking back into his room, the nurse was telling my family that he took his last breath in between the tests.  we all stood shocked and all together the tears began to fall as we knew that our friend (father, grandfather and brother) was gone.

the last few days have been a blur – making funeral arrangements, phoning family and reflecting on the many memories that we have all shared with him.

the funeral is taking place next saturday (april 5) at 2pm.