Last month, Corbin and I had the privilege to travel to western Canada to pay tribute to my late grandfather.
Grandpa passed away on July 31st. We celebrated him on October 15th.
Our family homestead in Consul, Saskatchewan in the 1800s.
Not much has changed since I was there in 1989.
Honestly, I know we say that Montana is Big Sky Country, but that must only include the US. The prairies in the Saskatchewan and Alberta areas are so expansive that you can see horizon to horizon. It’s breathtaking.
The four granddaughters made the trip to Consul and we were asked to speak at Grandpa’s service. Honestly, I had no idea what I was going to say.
I loved Grandpa, but I didn’t know him.
With my grandparents living in Canada and us living in Atlanta, we didn’t see much of one another. Could we have called or written more? Sure. But, that didn’t happen.
So, I struggled with how I would pay tribute to a man I didn’t know very well.
The air is different there. The view is broader and crisper. It’s quieter. It’s a place you feel God.
We landed in Calgary and met my parents there. Driving together to Medicine Hat, Alberta where my grandparents lived, my dad spouted memories. It had been years since I’d seen my Grandma and it was so good to hug her.
Yet, the last time I’d been in Canada in their home, it was the farm in Consul.
This was different. I’d never been.
I’d missed out.
The next morning, we traveled to Consul through the Cypress Hills to a lodge named Diamond Willow. We literally had to move the cows off the road to get to the lodge; we were in the middle of nowhere.
There was nothing, but expanse, prairies, cows and time.
I didn’t know what to do with myself.
I grabbed my camera and walked through the tall grasses. I sat in those tall grasses and I cried.
I was probably overdue.
Tears for the all the times I’d missed with my Grandpa. Tears for my Grandma. Tears for my dad. Tears for my husband who couldn’t come and tears for the regret we never came before he was injured. Tears for the loss of the homestead that I never got to show Danny. Tears for the relief I felt to get away. Tears just because I’m tired. Tears to tell God about.
Being there a couple days before the memorial service, I heard many stories about my grandpa and learned many things about him that I never knew. I was able to go with my dad, my mom and Corbin to the homestead, to the lake, to the town and relive my dad’s memories of these places.
As an adult, I found a greater appreciation for my heritage.
It was a family reunion. It was awesome. Memories I will never forget.
But, still, I didn’t know what to say to pay tribute to this man.
In the quiet of that place, God reminded me that I did know my grandpa…..through my dad.
My dad is one of the most wonderful men I’ve ever met. He is a product of his parents, his environment and the lessons he’s learned from them.
Good or bad, my dad learned how to be a good dad from his father before him. Just as I hope to even be a better parent than my own, my dad mimicked or changed his parenting from what he’d experienced as a child. He took the good and bad and made it better.
Like my grandpa, my dad loves the Lord and uses his work as an avenue to minister God’s love to others.
Like my grandpa, my dad is wholly dedicated to his family and will drop everything for us.
Like Grandpa, my dad knows how to perfectly throw a tool causing little to no damage when trying to fix something that just doesn’t want to work.
It was an awesome experience to stand where my great, great grandfather walked and to share that with my son.
And when we’re dead and gone, what kind of heritage are we leaving our son through these circumstances?
It’s a question I ask myself often. How do the realities of our lives affect and build Corbin into a man? Good and bad? Which way will it go?
How do you parent well through life’s tragedies?
How do you take the ashes of life and create a legacy of faith, family and foundation?
I pose these questions, expecting your comments.
“Sons are a heritage from the Lord.” Psalm 127:3