When he died in February, this year, there was immense grief (especially as I didn't get to say goodbye), but also a reassuring sense of peace.
He was more than ready to go. He'd had a fantastic life. Fought the Nazis as a young man, worked hard, raised a wonderful family. His sense of humor always made me laugh and his explosive sneezes made me jump. When he visited me, we went to tea shops and ate cream cakes. I used to drag him around all my friends' houses to visit.
He snored, terribly, like a freight train. We shared a room when I took him to Iona in 2004 and I had to wear ear-plugs every night. He was almost inexhaustible. I dragged him around Ottawa when he was in his 70s, and he kept up every step of the way. If he was still here, we'd be having a cup of tea and some biscuits, and he'd be recounting the exact same conversation we had every time we met up.
Cheers, Grandad. Happy Birthday. I feel like I should send you a card, even now, but I'm sad I couldn't write what you always wrote to me ''Many Happy Returns of the Day." But I'll never forget the good times we shared.