This is something I’ve been wanting to write for a few weeks now, but haven’t been able to. I’m giving it a shot tonight though.
I had a very… uneven childhood. It was part calm, part chaos. Those who know me well will likely know what I mean by this. To anyone else, the details aren’t at all important.
What I want to talk about now is the calmest of the calm part. The two people who were a constant source of love, acceptance, joy, trust, and goodness in my every uneven world: My grandparents. I was very close to them growing up. My grandma was my caregiver while my mom was at work, and I spent many weekends going on all sorts of adventures with my grandpa. Many of my happiest memories growing up were with them.
25 days ago my grandfather passed away.
Vern Bradley was a remarkable man. He was smart, caring, creative, and, simply, good. From debating the best donut flavours with him as a child, to debating politics as an adult, he always remained the most important man in my life. Though he was my grandfather, he was very much my father-figure growing up. He was always there, my trust and adoration of him never once wavering.
I had a lot of self-confidence issues as a child. I didn’t know where I fit in to the world, or even how to go about trying to. So, one day (when I was around 10 or so) he took me out to the back of their farm to show me something he’d made for me. Nothing could have prepared me for what was waiting. My own world. In a wooded, overgrown section of their property he’d created series of trails, clearings, and climbing areas, with a sign at the entrance welcoming guests to “Spencer’s World”. He gave me my own corner of the world, filled it with things I loved, and even provided signs to navigate me home in case I got lost. It is, and I imagine always will be, the greatest gift I will ever receive.
25 days ago the world lost a great man.
He lived a long life, and was ready to go. He told me he was ready to die, after struggling through years and years of sickness. And as one of the people who sat in the room with him when he passed, I can assure you that a more peaceful end there never was. He didn’t struggle for his last breaths, which as a sufferer of emphysema was a great fear of his. He simply went to sleep, and after hours of restful, light breathing, he simply let out a breath and was gone. He was surrounded by so much love the last couple of days, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more for him.
I wanted to speak at the funeral, but was having a lot of trouble in the days that followed, so I decided against it. I’m still having a tough go of it, to be completely honest. But, I wanted to write a little something, just to solidify my own thoughts.
I’m not religious, and I don’t believe in heaven. But, I do believe in the soul. And I like to think that somewhere in this vast universe, his is residing, spreading, and carrying with it his wonderful, imaginative spirit.
I love you, grandpa.