Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Perhaps a break from loss, soon - mmmk?

So - my Grandpa died today. That's three loved ones (Greg included) since March. I actually expected my Grandma to go first, since she's really starting to go downhill, but there you have it. It's almost surreal, since we had almost no warning.

My Grandfather's name was Reginald Jack Selby; everyone called him Jack. He was born in England on May 20, 1923. His mother died when he was young and he was raised by his oldest sister, Nelly. He had two older brothers, one of whom died in WWII. Jack himself served in WWII; he lost his high-pitched hearing operating guns on the Dover coast, then was stationed in Burma. After the war, he moved to Kingston with his surviving brother and worked at RMC for years. It was during his bachelor days in Kingston that he met my Grandma.

Grandma was a widow; she'd lost my Grandpa MacDonald in 1963 and had two kids - my Dad and Aunt Linda. She and Grandpa married in November 1968 (they just celebrated their 40th...6 months before my inlaws did. How funny, no?).

Grandpa was just about the jolliest guy you could ever hope to meet. He liked chips (fries) with EVERYTHING, especially pizza. He ate a cheese sandwich for lunch every.single.day - Grandma lamented that his colleagues must have thought she was the most boring cook on earth, sending him that in his lunch each day! He loved to have a couple pints at the Legion, and was an avowed Liberal and CPAC watcher (the two had to exchange a TV because they couldn't get CPAC on their 2nd TV!). He brought joy to everything he did.

And for a guy who'd never had kids of his own, who inherited teenagers -- did he every love his granddaughters. We shared so many Napanee adventures - trips to Sandbanks and Picton (for FnC), to Bon Echo and (snore) Lake on the Mountain, to the court house, shopping and picnicing -- summer visits with my granparents were the best. And did he ever love Dave! Seriously - he was surrounded by women, especially after they moved into a retirement community. Dave was a favourite, and asking about Dave was the very first thing he did whenever we spoke.

Grandpa loved Teddy, too. We sent pictures, which he proudly showed to everyone in the residence. He was THRILLED that we'd visited with the baby, and was so happy to hug him and bounce him. He joked that Teddy and he had the same hair (ahh - the comeover).

Grandpa had been having some breathing issues for a couple of months, but it appeared to be nothing (or so he said). It turns out that it was lung cancer - a shock for someone who hadn't smoked in at least 50 years (if ever). He was taken to the hospital last night; we first heard the diagnosis this morning. It turns out that he'd found out 2 weeks ago and hadn't wanted to worry anyone. He was comfortable and didn't regain consciousness; he died around 5 p.m.

Man - I loved him. I am so thankful to have had nearly 32 years with him. He was a wonderful man. I named my son after the grandfather I never knew, a man who'd have loved him very much. And I will be sure to teach Teddy all about the Grandpa that I did know, whose presence I am so blessed to have had in my life, the Great Grandpa who loved him to pieces.

Grandpa - Godspeed. Have a pint with Greg, and make sure you give Flo (your favourite...you always loved my aunts) a big hug; she and Nonno will be glad to have your company. I love you so very much.


  1. Oh, I'm sorry Sarah. For all your loved ones.

  2. Sarah, I'm so sorry for your loss. I didn't know that Grandpa Jack went by his second name - so does my Grandpa (Charles Desmond). Also, I agree with him Grandpa Jack - fries with everything! Tell your family that I'm thinking of them.

  3. Wow, what a year it's been for you and your family and loved ones. Joe, Emma and I are so sorry for your loss. We are all thinking about you guys and wish you continued strength in these difficult times.

  4. I'm so sorry to hear that, Sarah. :-(