Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Yesterday was a day of remembrance for the United States and much of the free world. I volunteered to post a remembrance, and was a assigned the name of a young man I had never met. It was much more difficult to write a tribute to someone I didn’t personally know, than I thought it would be. But I did my best. And having done so, felt like I had done something to bring the events of 9/11 to a more personal level. I read quite a few of the Blogger 2996 tributes. Sadly I had one commenter yesterday who had a negative opinion of my tribute. I know, that what I wrote was heartfelt. If it came across as insincere or shallow, then I apologize. It was not my intention to offend. I don’t claim to be a great poet. But I refuse to be ashamed of my attempt to do something good and decent.
Today I would like to post a remembrance of someone who I did know.
Someone very close to my heart, who passed from this world a few hours after the impact of 9/11 was just sinking in.
My Grandfather, John Raymond Whalley. Left these earthly bounds, for a better place in the wee hours of September 12th, 2001.
He had been suffering the effects of a very bad stroke for a few weeks, and that night he slipped away.
I’ve had a lot of guilt around his passing. I wasn’t there with him. I had been in to see him almost every day of his hospitalization. But the events of the morning of the 11th had me riveted to my TV. I thought, Ill go see him tomorrow. For my Grandfather, tomorrow never came. He died alone. The terrorists took that moment from us. He was unconscious, and perhaps, wouldn’t have even been aware of my presence. I never got a call from the doctor or nurses to say he had begun to decline, more rapidly. I guess, they were also caught up in the days’ news events. I don’t blame them. We were all out of sorts that day.
I take comfort in knowing that he was a big part of my life for 36 years prior to his death.
As a small child, he nurtured in me, an appreciation of nature. He tried to cultivate in me, an eye for beauty. Whether in art or in the world around us. He taught me to see through the eyes of an artist. We would lie in the park and watch cloud formations. We would walk in the fallen leaves and listen to the ‘music' of the autumn. I remember him listening to symphonies on CBC radio with his eyes shut, his hands conducting the invisible orchestra.
One of his greatest legacies though, was his enormous love for his beloved Georgina, my grandma. He outlived her by more than fifteen years. Not a day went by that he didn’t recount some story of their lives together. When he went , I know he had peace in his soul as he had looked for many years, to that day that he would once again walk with her. Just a few days ago, my youngest cousin delivered her first child, a baby girl. Grandad would have been delighted that she was named Georgina.

In Other News:

I had a call this evening from Keith’s aunt, who has been in Edmonton for over a week. She told me that Kayla has developed a bit of an infection in her leg and has been in quite a bit of pain. At the same time she is still doing well as far as mobilizing. She has had a total of 8 blood transfusions. Her surgery was only a few days after her last chemo treatment, and her counts always crash a few days after. She is getting stronger again and is able to do her school work. I know all your thoughts are reaching her and continue to be appreciated.
Yesterday I was surfing some 9/11 articles on the net, and I came across this very touching post. It sums up what human kindness is all about. I highly reccomend reading it.

I am off work now for a couple of days. Tomorrow Keith and I want to try to get out for a DATE! Been a while since we did that. We want to go to Vancouver to see a Bard on the Beach matinee.

Wednesday, I am going for coffee at Deanna’s! Apparently I don’t even need to milk a cow on the way over! Coffee is just a guise. I am really going to inspect her lovely husbandman’s handiwork.

My very handsome middle child, appears to have broken his nose this week. I tell you, if there is a disaster to be had, he will find a way to make sure he is in its path. He had some idiot, head butt him at a rock concert on the weekend. I think he still looks beautiful, even with a swollen nose. See? Grandad taught me to see the beauty!!!!!


Bobbie said...

The tribute you wrote was written from the heart and I would just ignore the negative commenter.
That's a very nice passage you've written about your Grandfather. It sounds like he was a wonderful man and you learned so much from him.
I hope Kayla's infection quickly responds to treatment. Thanks for keeping us updated on her. She's always in my thoughts.
Take care and hope you have a good week.

Chana said...

don't mind that one negative sucker. i read your tribute and you did an incredible job. i too, tried to do some good and not all of it went well. i was left wondering what the heck i had written and went back over and over it..it wasn't me, my intentions were good..some people are just silly...

your grandfather was a very handsome fellow. i love the way grandparents look. they are so comforting to me. he must have loved you so and you him. pls don't feel guilty. not all is perfect not even death. God was with him, he wasn't alone. you were in his heart. hugs my sweet. sounds like a wonderful man who influenced you in the most wonderful ways. so happy you have always had such a great family.

i'm sorry Kayla has an infection.i hope they can nip it in the bud right away. sorry she is in pain. she has had such an ordeal already..poor girl. she is so strong and full of courage.

best wishes for a most romantic of dates. lots of holding hands, and cuddling and smooching is a must..;p ..seriously, do hope that you guys have a good time.

good luck at work. your dad is another sweetie. he even left a comment on Joe's blog.

Chana said...

i just read the idiot's comment..don't mind him, he is not nice....

you did a wonderful thing in a beautiful way..

some people are just so not nice! grrrrrr...

jel said...

i relly liked what you wrote about your grand dad! i never got to meet one of ganddads , and the other one died when i was little kid,

sorry to hear at kayla , is in pain, still praying for her ,

hope you and Keith get to go on your Date!

take care

huggs to you all!

Karen said...

Your 9/11 tribute did not sound shallow at all, it was very sincere.

I'm sorry for the passing of your Grandfather, he was a great man. He surely wouldn't want you to feel guilty for not being there, in fact, maybe that is why he went, is because he was finally able to go without feeling like he needed to stay. My late SIL wanted to pass when no one was in her room and she waited until my brother left her room for a few minutes to go.

He gave you so much love, he wants you to carry that with you, not guilt.

I'm praying for Kayla, I hope the infection goes away quickly. It's awesome she's growing stronger!


Monica said...

Susan, speaking as someone who has one of your poems, your tribute was NOT shallow OR negative and I know your poem to me is beautiful and inspiring and I treasure it. There always has to be someone who is miserable who wants to try to ruin the beauty of what they see around them and I was able to see beauty in so many of these tributes.
I can tell you that you did a MUCH better job than I did and while I may like to use my stroke as an excuse, it wasn't all of it...I was scared to do this man justice. I did receive two private emails yesterday from one of his family members. It was better than a Peter Strauss moment.

I inadvertently removed Kayla from our prayer list Friday and trust me, the girl is BACK on it. I hope the infection heals quickly as well. I absolutely adore that girl through the magical words of your posts.

Take care and chin up...your post was ONE OF THE BEST.

walker said...

You volunteered to put a face on an otherwise unknown name, a statistic.
You brought his life out of the dark and into the light for all of us to see and meet.
You did a great job with your tribute.
You sat down and took the time to know this young man and held him in your thoughts when you wrote your post and he will remain with you forever because you took part in this tribute.
Where is this commenter’s contribution because as sure as hell it isn’t in the comment box?
You did good.

It’s hard loosing someone who was so important in your life especially when you need them the most.

I’m sorry to hear that Kayla is in pain , I hope it will go away soon..

Have a nice day

EMOB said...

Susan - you took the time out to bring the memory of someone whom none of us knew to life. I can hardly believe that someone would "critique" that. GRRRRR!

Thanks for sharing a bit of your grandfather with us. You have a lovely family, and it's a pleasure to read about them.

Kayla, stay strong. We are all praying for you.


Ms. Vickie said...

The tribute you wrote was from your heart and was incredible. It is very difficult to do a tribute to someone never having met them and you allowed me to know Juan was young man. He became a person to me not just a number out there as he was before. Your poem was beautiful and from your heart.

There is always one and he was here.

You brought someone else to light for me today and I enjoyed having a glimpse into his life. Your grandfather was an amazing man I believe he left his influence on his family very much and it still carries over.

I'm sorr to hear about Kayla and she is still in my prayers. It is nice to know she still has her fight and determination.

Enjoy your date.

Tammy said...

Grandparents are an incredible gift. to be loved by someone who loves your parents as much as you do is so special. Except for siblings I guess. Its so hard because my grandparents are gone and I see my dad turning into my grandmother and me, well I guess I am turning into my mom. Wonder who my kids will turn into? Great post your granddad sounds like a great guy!!

Monica said...

I had to come back and tell you that the part about your grandfather was wonderful. I am so glad that my oldest had those three years with his Paw-Pa and I wish there had been more.. he was only 48 when he passed away. Granddaddies are so special.

sharon said...

I'd like to know what this dude did to remember the victoms of 9/11. Some people are such jack asses! You did a great job and it was a very giving gesture.
Hope Kayla's infection clears up pronto.
Have fun on your hot date!

Fred said...

So much in this post - you've left me much to remember about 9/11 and your family. You're right - that article was amazing.

Enjoy your date!

Questing Parson said...

What a powerful and beautiful tribute to your grandfather. Just wonderful.

Barbara said...

Oh what would we do if we had didn't have people like Brian and his Random Acts of Meanness? At least he kept with one part of the tradition and kept himself anonymous!
I think about Kayla daily. Always praying. Please send her my love.
Grandparents. I miss mine! Your grandpa looked like fun! I firmly believe that, to some degree, people have a choice when they leave this earth. You hear so many stories of people saying they had spent days at the hospital only to go home and have a shower or go and get a cup of coffee and when they came back their loved one was gone. Maybe dying was something your grandfather wanted to do alone. Even if he didn't I am quite sure he wouldn't want you to feel regret of guilt. Would he?
Enjoy your date!

zingtrial said...

Its a powerful tribute to your grand'dad
Wish you well

Carolanne said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful post!

patti_cake said...

I wouldn't worry about the negative comment, let THEM do better next time. Hmmph. I can't like insensitive morons.
Sorry to hear Kayla is having some complications but she will prevail! Your Grandad sounds like a wonderful person. I miss mine so much!! :(