Sunday, 25 September 2011

Cecil Bartlett Foster

March 2nd, 1996 my life came to a screeching halt. My Mother, who had bore me, raised me (to the best of her abilities), nurtured me, loved me, and guided me left this place and plane for another. I was almost 25 years old, my son and daughter were quite young (6 and 4 respectively). My husband and I were beginning to become at odds with each other due to the PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) that he suffered from going to Rwanda with the Canadian Armed Forces on a UN mission for 6 months.

For months after her death I would pick up the phone to call her about an event that had occurred with the children at school, a milestone they had passed, or just to hear her voice because I'd had a shitty day. I would get close to dialing the number or sometimes even half way through and I would remember she wasn't there anymore to take my call. Once I even managed to dial the entire wasn't until my Grandfather (Grandpa Cecil) answered the phone with his typical "Yes?" greeting that I remembered that she didn't live there anymore. And I would have to fake and fain my way through a conversation with my Grandfather making up a reason as to why I had phoned to speak with him.

Now don't get me wrong...I loved to talk to my Grandpa Cec. But he was a much more interesting person to speak to in person than he was on the phone. My Grandpa was such an ominous person (or so I thought) growing up. When I was young he seemed so incredibly tall (I think at his tallest he was only 6' or perhaps 6'1") I think the fact that he was so thin as well didn't help. Not to mention my Grandmother frequently did the talking (to say she was domineering and overbearing would be an understatement) so he kept to himself and kept quiet. When she passed...a whole other side to my Grandfather emerged. And for the first time...I actually had the opportunity to meet the real Cecil Foster.

In my Grandmother's eyes (When my Mom and Aunt were young) my Aunt Bev (who I have previously blogged about) could do no wrong. She was the queen, the star, the brilliant child. My Mother was left behind and nothing but trouble and could never do anything right in her eyes. As such my Mom became my Grandpa's favourite, and my Aunt hated her for it. My Grandmother in turn then pitted my Aunt and my Mother against each other telling my Aunt that my Grandfather didn't love her and only loved my Mom. My Grandmother believed her own lies, and hated my Mom every bit as much as my Aunt began to. It was ugly, vicious, and at times very difficult growing up in that household from what I've heard from both my Mom and my Aunt over the years.

Listening to him spin a story I think was one of my favourite things. And it wasn't that any of the stories he'd tell were fabricated or anything...but they were detailed and he could take you in and make you feel like you were there no matter what the year the story was from. He was very funny and clever. My Grandpa was very intelligent, he loved music and books and reading. My GOD. The books in that man's apartment when he passed were countless. He was a druggist (pharmacist) by trade and was very good at it. He spoke Latin, could write in Morse code and frequently did so with my husband (who was a signalman in the Canadian Forces).

I always loved my Grandpa...even when I didn't know him as a young child. I'm so glad that I did get to know the real him before he passed a little over 11 years after my Mom (He passed on March 7th, 2007). She would have been so glad that my sister and I got to know him the way SHE did. That would have pleased her very much.

I will leave you with some parting words of wisdom...the ones my Grandfather would always say when we would drop him off at his apartment after a visit.

"Buckle up for safety, Semper Ubi Sub Ubi, and Don't take any wooden nickles"

One Last Glimpse,


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