On Trampolines and Grief

To be clear, this post is not about an accident on a trampoline, because upon reading the title that might be where the reader’s thoughts lead, although it is about trampolines, and grief. Time is not linear; conversations, photos and memory help.

Today marks the 15th anniversary of my Dad’s death. I miss him. February 23, 2007 he awoke like any other day from his bed in Vancouver, B.C. He and my Mom were looking forward to a party they were invited to that evening, at one of his favorite places. That same day, I was super excited because the trampoline I’d ordered for our family (I grew up flinging myself through the air on one outdoors in my backyard) was being delivered.

Two weeks prior my parents looked after their three beloved, exuberant, life-filled grandchildren, while my husband and I were traveling. They had a wonderful week together, full of practice golf swings, watching soccer on tv, drops offs and pick ups at soccer practices, puzzle building, reading, chauffeuring the three back and forth to school, basketball, playdates and more.

On this day, a trampoline arrived at our home (vastly different from my childhood bright orange solid tarp, with cobalt blue metal sides, and no netting to catch airbound bodies). Truth be told, I wanted one, and to share my love of trampolining with our kids. My Dad, aware this delivery was taking place, called to let me know in no uncertain terms, “ShaSha, don’t let my grandchildren hurt themselves on that thing” (I think there were some other choice words in there but don’t remember exactly). My reply “Got it Dad, I’ll keep a close eye on them. Love you.” That was the end of our call.

He died that night, at the party, in his formal attire, my Mom at his side, not in a peaceful way. It was pain filled, heart wrenching, soul shocking and deep with anguish. This practice, writing, helps me move the trauma of that experience through and out of my body. It’s not as intense as that first call, the one I missed, my phone on silence because I was on a date with my husband; we’d just seen the movie “Amazing Grace” and I couldn’t wait to tell my Dad and Mom about it.

My Dad taught me many things about life: how to put a crab to sleep, costumes are the best, laughter and living life with adversity go hand in hand. Courage is required, owning a boat is expensive (but worth it), walks and rounds of golf help what ails you in body and spirit, moving to an island can be lovely and isolating, friends are gold (be careful and wise in how you treat them), look for the good in people (sometimes it’s hard to find). It is possible to change your diet, but/and, there’s nothing quite so satisfying as fish n’chips, steak and potatoes, roast beef and yorkshire pudding. Ice hockey is the best sport to watch, although a round of golf on a warm sun filled day in Hawaii or Scottsdale is a close second. Soccer/European football is amazing. Competition and playing sports build character, as does losing (although winning is preferred; obviously). Science is a noble and honoured profession. Marriage and commitment require love, a sense of humor, laughter, a difference of opinions and a willingness to hold tension. Having a strong opinion is good, be open to hearing other’s opinions (although yours is probably right). You will probably need to change over time (you might not like it). Culinary skills are underrated: if you know how to toast bread, boil an egg, and heat up a can of spaghetti – o’s, you’ll be ok (although having other people prepare delicious meals for you is preferred). Jokes help, public speaking will scare you but it’s a good skill. Balancing a budget is key, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Parenting is hard, and fun; let your kids try things even if it scares you.

I hear my Dad’s voice in my head at various times, feel his presence with me, and sometimes he visits in my dreams. I’m grateful for memories, photos, conversations with my Mom and brother, spouse and kids, family stories.

“Know thou, O stranger to the fame of this much lov’d, much honoured name! (For none that knew him need be told) a warmer heart death ne’er made cold.”

“Those whom we have loved never really leave us. They live on in our hearts, and cast their radiant light onto our every shadow.” Sylvana Rossetti

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