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December 13, 2003

For Papa

I didn't expect to be up at 6 am this morning, and I certainly didn't expect to be reading last night's post and crying my eyes out.

Ella's middle name is Vernon. This may sound like a strange name for a little girl, but it doesn't seem strange if you'd met go-Daddy-O's father. Vern was an upstanding citizen who was full of warmth and good will. He had never owned a car, yet every week he managed to balance a truckload of groceries on his bike and deliver them to his daughter (who has 8 eight kids). He was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels. He grew roses in his backyard and barbequed all year round. He clearly doted on his wife and family.

Vern went into the hospital in October 2001, right around Thanksgiving. In the summer he had lost a substantial amount of weight and had been diagnosed with diabetes. In fact, the weight loss was a symptom of something much worse: cancer. The tumour in his throat grew to be the size of a grapefruit. The family was devastated.

Before he passed away, he indicated that he had no regrets. He had led a rich life, and had lived long enough to spend quality time with his 4 children and 10 grandchildren. If only he'd seen his 11th grandchild, with her toothy grin and her sparkling eyes. Some days I can see the regret, and the longing, creep into go-Daddy-O's eyes--especially around Christmas time.

Ella Vernon Stewart. Laugh loudly. Love deeply. We have high hopes for you.

Posted by tomi at 06:31 AM in Reflections | Permalink

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