Thursday, August 19, 2010

3 years ago today

Willem asked me about Grandma yesterday out of the blue. Wanted to know how Grandma died? Why? So I explained in detail at the cellular level why cancer made Grandma die….I think I lost him at “So there are these cells in your body….” He strangely asked if Grandma walked with a walking stick? Not sure what that was about? I guess sick people have walking sticks? We won’t let our kids forget about Grandma that is for sure! I see parts of Mom in them as they grow up….and it just re-confirms my beliefs. She isn’t in heaven or in a spirit world where many put such high hopes and so called “faith” in….she is right here with us….in our kids, my niece and nephew, sister, cousins, aunts and uncles, and of course my Grandma (who I need to go visit one of these days) and everyone that she influenced. When I hug my kids I am also hugging a part of my Mom and it makes me feel really good.

It would appear somewhat odd to be writing to Mom on a blog that she can’t read but in reality it is therapeutic for me….I get to remember and hopefully make others who read this remember too. I am sure this will cause many tears but it sure makes you feel better after a good cry.

Mom, I must tell you a story again…. but there is so much to tell so I can only give snippets of the past year or so…

….we got to experience Africa…and so glad we did, it was amazing. I can remember Dad and you telling us your experiences of Zimbabwe and South Africa and the time you had to emergency land in a game park. Your story makes so much more sense to me now after being there. The animals were incredible, and I got the kids spotting birds with the binoculars. I think one of them will inherit the bird gene…not quite sure which one is the lucky one…ha!

We walked in the footsteps of the Pharaohs in Egypt and watched Willem have an allergic reaction to the camel he was riding on….maybe that is something else he inherited from you? Which makes me think, I wonder who inherited your awesome sneezing gene? I loved reading about King Tut as a kid and got to see his solid gold mask up close.

We ate so well in Greece…tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese, olives (yuck), and olive oil. I don’t recall if you ate olives…but you must have because they are so salty…and I think you use to carry a salt shaker in your purse.

Mary got to see part of her heritage in the Ukraine and I got to see what Mary is going to look like as a Baba when our kids have kids. Speaking of the Ukraine, I remember you making colored easter eggs with the food coloring for us as kids, which we will have to remember to do for our kids.

Not sure what you would have thought about Russia….people weren’t that friendly, and I am sure if Grandpa Baird knew we were there he would have told us to watch out for those damn commies. Oh, and I can only imagine what Grandpa would have thought about China and not to mention Africa….something along lines of a well known joke ….chink, chink, chink, nigger…nigger…nigger, chink, chink, chink – representing a sprinkler (I am so bad at recalling jokes). China was very cool, the people loved your grandchildren….the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors were definitely wow moments….and the reason why we travel.

You would have loved South-East Asia – the people watching was top notch…which I know is one of the Baird past times that will get passed on from generation to generation. We went to a water-puppet show in Vietnam (stop it Grandpa Baird…ha!) that was like nothing we had ever seen before. And the nemo (clown-fish) on Tioman Island were amazing….I will never forget the time in Mexico we snorkeled together which is one of my favorite memories of us together….and I have to thank you for making your grand-daughter into a snorkeling queen…wow is she a fish! Robyn and I snorkeled together every chance we got…it felt so natural and comforting to be drifting weightless in the ocean looking at colorful fish and coral with my daughter beside me…I think I know why.

Before South-East Asia we spent a couple of weeks in Western Australia with Dad traveling north of Perth. Feeding wild dolphins, going on a lobster harvest and eating fresh lobster (I think you and Dad use to make the Red Lobster a regular visit)…seeing where life began in the oceans by looking at Stromatolites, walking on billions of shells at a place called Shell Beach (you would have loved that place), and I almost got bitten by a sea snake….again, I am your accident prone son.

In New Zealand, we went bungy jumping and jetboating where Dad said he almost crapped his pants when we came within inches of the cliff face. We toured Lord of the Rings sites, saw yellow-chinned penguins, walked beneath glaciers, saw hundreds of waterfalls, almost ran out of gas while detouring around flood waters, went on a brewery tour, got chased by seals….oh, you would have loved the adventure…I know Dad did…but I am sure he was feeling lonely without you as I know it was one of the places you guys always wanted to go to….but we experienced it and again you were there with us.

The year in Australia was an accomplishment, something we had set out to do before you got sick and promised to fulfill our dream for you. I remember telling you many times in the hospital that we would plan to go again and not to feel bad about it. And wow did we make the most of it. We left a part of you there…spreading some of your ashes at Diggers beach on Mother’s Day. The place I learned to surf and my plan worked as you did the motherly thing and made sure I didn’t get taken by a shark. We will be back there again I am sure many times to visit. Now we need a plan to spread some of you here in Canada…in the places you loved…I will work on that with Shelley and Dad.

We are back in Airdrie now, getting back to our normal routine…but after a year like we had it is going to be tough to settle in.

Another year has passed and can’t say it is getting easier without Mom….but we are starting to heal slowly. The kids, Mary and I will make the most of every day….until next year….always thinking of you…love you Mom…Grandma.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Thought I would put a quick message on the blog. I woke up early this morning and went down to the beach, the sun was rising, the full moon was setting and the birds were singing like crazy. It felt like the right time and spot to spread some of Mom's ashes. It is the place I learned to surf and now she can be with me there for every surf and every wipe out...looking out for me.

Here is a photo of the beach....

Always thinking of you.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Note from the Baxter's

Good morning everyone, attached is a photo of the flowers that were the seeds that were shared at Bonnie's celebration a year ago.

A reminder of how beautiful and fragile life is.

Forever missed,
Forever treasured,
Loving you always,
Forgetting you never.

Shelley, Mark, Carmen and Stephen

365 Days Around the Sun - A Message from your Son

It's been 365 days but it seems like yesterday. The pain hasn't dulled and we think about you everyday. I miss the short talks we had when you use to phone to find out how everyone was doing. I am so talkative that it usually started off as you asking how everything was and I would say good, and then you would ask about the kids and I would come up with an illustrated response .... good. I would ask about if you had seen any animals and you would tell me about the various birds and that the hummingbirds were starting to show up. Then I would ask if you wanted to talk to Mary and you would say yes because you weren't getting too much out of me. Mary would then proceed to talk your ear off.....not that I didn't want to talk but I knew Mary would be much better at it than me. But you know that I was always quiet and you knew that I was more of a thinker. What I am better at is writing my if I had a chance to tell you a short story about some of the things that went on this year since you have been gone it would be something like this......

We have missed you dearly. It has been very tough and Robyn and Willem always talk about you. In the day they think you are playing in the clouds and that at night your the bright star in the sky. They know you aren't sick anymore and that you are always looking in on them. Robyn and Willem learned to snowski this year....Robyn was a natural...Willem, not so much....a bit young I think. We built a hockey rink in the back yard and the kids loved it, well maybe not as much as me! Robyn has her dad's skating ability I think....Willem did very well but mostly liked being pulled around on my hockey stick. We had some beautiful days up at the cabin this winter and dad and I managed to get out a few times on the hill....we had a couple of deep powder, blue sky days that were amazing.

We took the kids to Disneyland in Feb. We surprised them...they thought we were flying to Kelowna but then told them we were in Disneyland when we were in the airport...very excited but also very confused. I remember a bit from when you guys took me when I was 5 but I am sure it all changed.

Willem loves to play "octogon" fighting but I had to put a stop to that as he was giving kids at the dayhome flying elbows.....he is hilarious and is definitely a boy. Robyn had a great year in soccer and scored 5 goals in one of the playoff games. They both were in swimming lessons and robyn was the only girl in her class but held her own with the boys. Willem had troubles listening to his instructor but did progress and you would be glad to know that he is no longer scared of the waves.

You will also be happy to know that we were accepted back to do a teacher exchange and that I am going to keep writing my blog that I know you looked forward to reading. You had felt so bad for us having to cancel last time so no worries this one is for you. We will take your grandchildren to many places so that they can experience as much as they can......they will have the adventurous spirit as you do.

Summer was good. It was really hot in July and Mary and the kids stayed at the cabin most of the summer. Your garden is doing very well, however, none of us have quite the green thumb you have. Mary and Marylynne did their best to keep things weeded and thinned out. Fishing was great this would have heard lots of fish stories from me....but I did have witnesses and photos to prove it this time!

Don't worry about Dad, well, maybe a little....he is making your floor dirty and bringing sawdust into the house...ha. I think he might miss your cooking as well. He is getting ready to start your house and the plans look great! We will try and get him to come to Australia this winter for a visit as I am sure that is what you would want him to do....but I wonder how will he pack for himself? We will take care of him, don't worry.

Your other grandson broke his arm had a son that was injury prone so you would have been use to this news....oh just a broken arm.

There is so much more to tell and if the kids are right you already know what is going on with us. We love you mom....grandma.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bonnie Grant (nee Baird)
1948 - 2007

Bonnie Grant of Calgary passed away peacefully on Sunday, August 19, 2007 surrounded by her family. She looked rather old for her age which was likely on the account of being a leap year baby. Technically, Bonnie only had 14 actual birthdays and would have had her fifteenth on Feb 29, 2008. Only having 14 birthdays was such a blessing as it bode well for the “Grant gene”, only had to buy her 14 birthday presents! Bonnie was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. She was the second oldest in a family of three sisters and a brother. Her parents, John “Johnny” and Dorothy Baird had a handful with these kids except for Bonnie, who was arguably always an angel. Bonnie married Wayne on June 9th, 1967 and was able to escape Edmonton, and “all of that family” as Wayne would put it, shortly after. Bonnie and Wayne settled in Calgary and managed to raise two amazing kids, Shelley and Pat, despite living in what was called “the hood”. Bonnie began a career at Northern Telecom in 1976 and worked there for 24 years before retiring. It was common to hear from the people that worked for her that “Bonnie was the best manager I ever had”. She was clearly a people person and would always take the time to talk no matter how small the issue.

Bonnie and Wayne retired out to “the cabin” on the Shuswap Lake in the community of Seymour Arm where they cultured a whole new family of friends. The cabin is a very special place for the Grant and the Morris family (Terry, Marylynn, Shannon and Sean) where lots of great memories were made. Stories will be passed on about Bonnie around the fire for many generations to come. She loved her gardening, reading, crafts and of course her bird watching (“crazy bird lady”). In their retirement, Wayne and Bonnie enjoyed traveling to tropical locations to relax and enjoy the many cultures of the world, code word for consuming lots of fruity drinks and relaxing on the beach.

Bonnie brought out the best in everyone she touched. She will be missed and never forgotten as her qualities have been passed to her children and everyone of her grandchildren. Bonnie was predeceased by her father, John Baird whose Irish blue eyes and sense of humor have also been passed down through the family and is always in our hearts and minds. She was also predeceased by her father-in-law, Bob Grant and her brother-in-law, Randy Grant. She is survived by her mother, Dorothy Baird and mother-in-law, Edna Grant (we love you GGB and GGG!); husband of 40 years, Wayne (wow, I bet that was a lot of “Waynnneeee’s”); her daughter and son-in-law, Shelley and Mark Baxter and her grandchildren, Carmen and Stephen; her son and daughter-in-law, Patrick and Mary Grant and her grandchildren, Robyn and Willem; her sister and sister’s husband, Marylynn and Terry Morris; her sister and sister’s husband, Joanne and Grant McMillan, her brother and brother’s wife, Bill and Kelly Baird; her sister Vicki Baird; brother-in-laws, Tim (Carol), Mike (Colette), and Val and many extended relatives and close friends she made throughout her life.

Special thanks for all the help and support from the staff at Unit 47 at the Tom Baker Cancer Center and our home nurse, Carol Boyer. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, August 25, 2007 at 1:00pm at the Crescent Heights Community Center, 1101 - 2 Street NW, Calgary, Alberta. A website has been set up for people to send condolences, tell stories, or to view some information about Bonnie ( In lieu of flowers, feel free to make donations to the Alberta Cancer Foundation. c/o Tom Baker Cancer Centre.