April 6th, 2021

On National Tartan Day, and one day after First Contact Day, we lost a truly wonderful, and delightfully silly, human being: my Grandpa.

Kind, generous, and most of all – mischevious!

A loss of any kind is difficult at the best of times, but it feels so much worse during a pandemic. It hurts to know I couldn’t be there in person to say goodbye to him, and I’ve been finding it difficult that I can’t be around my family for support right now. But I’m very grateful that Mark and I were able to have a few calls and video calls with Grandpa in the weeks before his passing.

Whether in person or virtually, Grandpa loved spending time with family

During the last two video calls with him, Grandpa was extremely happy because of two things. The first: a chocolate frosty. To say that Grandpa loved chocolate is a severe understatement. In fact, there was always a special drawer in my Grandparent’s fridge that held his not-so-secret stash, and there would be chocolate popsicles in the freezer during the summer. And don’t even get me started on chocolate cake. Grandpa did not pass up the opportunity to get a slice of chocolate cake. Of course, Mark and I made sure that some of our chocolate wedding cake got to him when we had our socially distant wedding.

You don’t say “no” to chocolate in this family

The second thing that made Grandpa happy on those video calls was not his eldest granddaughter and her husband, but one of his grandchildren: Bubs. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Grandpa never got to meet Finn and Bubs in person, but that didn’t stop him from loving them. Back before we got those two trouble makers, Grandpa loved to tell the story about how Minerva begged him for pets the last time he visited, and he liked to tease Max for being so lazy and so food motivated. But once Finn and Bubs came along, Grandpa developed a clear favourite. His face lit up so much when Bubs made an appearance on video calls that I’m pretty sure he was more excited to see that cat than he was to see his own granddaughter.

Grandpa loved to gush over how beautiful Bubs is

For me and the rest of the family, it was very significant that he passed on National Tartan Day. Grandpa was always immensely proud of his Scottish heritage and loved all things tartan. In fact, he was so proud of being Scottish that I didn’t realize he was half French-Canadian until I was in my early twenties! If you had a question about history, Grandpa was your go-to. But if you had a question about our Scottish ancestry, you’d end up with even more information than you thought you needed. Grandpa knew every little detail about our ancestors, right down to the parts of Scotland they came from and where exactly in Canada they travelled too. Oh, and he had all the dates to back this up.

Grandpa could even pull off a pretty decent Scottish accent

Equally significant for me was the fact that he passed so close to First Contact Day. My Grandparents are one of the reasons why I got into Star Trek, and the first episode I ever saw was at their place. And when I was a little older, it was my Grandparents who lent me all the old VHS tapes they had of TOS and TNG. Grandpa always loved sci-fi almost as much as he loved history, so it was no surprise that he didn’t mind re-watching any episodes of any Trek related series that happened to be on tv – even when Granny reminded him about all of the non-Trek shows he needed to catch up on. Recently, Grandpa had begun to re-watch DS9 and we had a couple of chats about why it is one of the best Treks. Clearly, he had good taste.

Me and Grandpa hanging out we got along from day 1

I’ll miss his jokes (especially the dirty ones), I’ll miss seeing him at family brunches, and I’ll miss the way he was always there for everything. But I’m grateful for all of the wonderful moments we had together, I’m grateful he helped introduce me to Star Trek, and I’m extremely grateful that he was able to (virtually) attend my wedding. So if you knew him, or even if you didn’t, go on and have a big piece of chocolate in memory of my Grandpa.

He was, hands down, the silliest person in the family. It took no effort at all for him to bring a smile to someone’s face, and that’s how I’ll always remember him.

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