Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's the People that you Meet...

Cool mom thing... or not so cool mom thing.. I've taught Pavel my dance moves.
Correction - I've very PROUDLY taught Pavel my dance moves. He's got the booty shake down, the pursed lip look (the just ate something sour face), and no rhythm. 
That's my boy.

I've got what I call my life theme song. It's weird actually. It shows up all over the place, totally random. A few years in Cabo San Lucas, it drove by blaring out of the car of some locals. Shopping in Glasgow, Scotland, it played a techno version in a department store. Walking along the beach of La Serena, Chile, showed up on an old CD on my discman (yup, discman). 

One of my favorite times was when I was 19 and alone living in Hong Kong. I was on a train going through the countryside on my way back from mainland China, looking out the window at the rice fields. I was scared, sad, and lonely, clutching onto my teddy bear that my brother had given me for Christmas the year before. The song starts piping through the train and it was weirdly comforting... that memory is forever in my mind. 

I've been very fortunate to meet a ton of interesting people in my life. A few months back, I was having coffee with one of these people, and he asked me what my dream job would be. 

My instant reaction was Oprah.
I thought about it for a second and changed my mind.. 
'Nope, Lisa Ling'

I love to talk and I love stories. I love a good story teller. I'm that person who will talk to random strangers in the grocery store.. and I love to people watch.

Have you ever driven past someone and wondered what was going on in their world today? 

Working at HelpTV, we did a number of shows on drug education. I interviewed a mom from a suburb of Edmonton. Her family is middle class. Her kids play sports and are good students. Both mom and dad are active in the family life.
To me, it seems like some of the simple ingredients for a healthy, successful family, but one day her son never came home. They started noticing something was different.
He ended up getting involved in drugs and was addicted to methamphetamine.  He got lost on the streets.
Believe me when I tell you mom and dad tried everything to help him.
When I had met her, they were a number of years deep into her son's addiction and he had been in and out of rehab, awaiting another turn, in another facility. At this point, as she told her story, she seemed numb to the details, but was still managing to continue along with her life. In fact, she had started an organization to help other families in similar situations as her and this was keeping her going.

Admirable. Scary. Sad.

This story still haunts me. 

I told you how my dad got married back in August. It was a great party, such a perfect day.  Maybe I get my story telling from my dad, because he's got a number of doozies. 50 years working in the oilfield will do that to you. I've heard for years stories about his friends, their hunting days, and traveling all over the world together on the hunt for liquid black gold.

Bob the Welder. Never just Bob, always Bob the Welder. He was there and he rushed over to me to say hi. We had both heard so much about each other. A few beers into the evening, BtW sits down and starts talking.
Turns out BtW, (who is about 6'5, with a white beard and hair, wearing a flannel shirt and a fur hunting hat my dad borrowed to him for the night) is a hermit. He loves to be alone and he loves nature.

He owns a little piece of trap land up by Fort Mac that is so remote, you can only access it by airplane or some sort of weird boat like you see on the opening of CSI Miami. He's got himself set up with a nice cabin with all the fixings, including Internet. (He only uses it to check his email to see if he's being called to work somewhere.)
He feels so strongly and comforted when he's in the wilderness alone, when he gets a message telling him it's time to leave his peaceful oasis, he cries.
After years of spending all his free time up there, I guess you could say he's become one with nature. He has a pet mole (or something small and creepy like it) who runs up his arm and down the other, and has a little attitude problem if BtW stops feeding him treats.
One day BtW was on his riding lawn mower cutting the grass on the airstrip. He could feel someone watching him. It was a familiar glare. He turns around and sees a full grown timber wolf about 15 feet away from him. Just sitting there watching him, curious and finally confident enough to come out of the woods and meet his friend, Bob the Welder.

Sheldon's grandfather Ken passed away on October 1st at the age of 81. Sheldon was close to him, and I was lucky enough to get to know him on a regular basis over the last five years.
Oh, Grandpa. How we loved your brush cut and your tan slacks with matching shirt and cardigan sweater that you wore almost every time you left the house.

If you knew Grandpa, I think you would agree with me that in his younger years, he was a cool guy. Very confident, attractive, great sense of humor and a real family man.
In the years I knew Grandpa, he became my number one fan. He never missed an episode of HelpTV. He would follow up with me on topic questions, and get annoyed if we ever aired reruns. At our wedding, Grandpa insisted on saying a few words, and put in a plug to our guests to watch my show.. even told them what time and what channel.

If there is a thought that would sum up what Grandpa's lasting memory will be for me, that is the love he had for his wife.
Granny passed away a number of years before I came into the picture, from Parkinson's... but I don't think she ever left his side.  I got to know her through the stories Grandpa told, from her paintings that still hung on their condo walls, and from the pictures he kept.
Not a family gathering went by without Granny being included in some way.

The love for your wife... it was the greatest lesson that Sheldon learned from his beloved Grandpa.

We got a call in the middle of the night about a week before Grandpa passed to come say good-bye. Sheldon and I packed up Pavel and went to the hospital.
Oh Grandpa, I can still remember the look in your eyes and how the first thing you said as we walked into the room was - Hi Pavel! We are so lucky he got to know you, even for a short time.

Driving home a few hours later, we shared some of our favorite memories of Grandpa... the radio playing in the background.

At 2:19 am.... my theme song took centre stage.

Beautiful Day, by U2.

It's like it knew I needed it.

As sad as it is for us to lose Grandpa, I know he is happy now.

My heaven is one big dance party.. and Grandpa and Granny are still dancing the night away.

We love you so much.


My little Pavel is 11 months old! He's such a great walker.. pretty much running now. Loves to talk.. just like mama!

Three words to sum up this little guy:
- Funny
- Flirty
- Determined

Sheldon freaked out last night because Pavel picked up his hockey stick and started passing the ball to dada with it. My life is over.

His favorite toys are the accessories to the vacuum cleaner... funny guy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Grandpa. It means a lot. Reading your blog brings me back to the memories I have with Grandpa and Granny. My sisters and I called them "Fishy Grandma and Grandpa" because when we were young, we'd spend most of our summer out at Moose Lake and Grandpa loved to take us out fishing with him. He would take us for a boat ride then we would fish until dark. I remember Grandpa carving the fish into fillets to be fried up for dinner. Yummy!

I miss them lots.