TO THE BEST GRAND PAPA
My dear grand papa Gilles was, hands down, the best role model I could ever wish for.
He helped shape the woman I am today.
I cannot conceive a world without him.
My heart is broken and a key piece will forever be missing.
He was funny, gentle, caring, smart and extremely talented.
We shared the same love of flowers, Lego, music, food and wine.
No one enjoyed investments more than him, and how hard he tried to get me interested.
He valued education and rewarded good grades.
He fought through so much in his life, rarely complained and was always positive.
His family was very poor growing up. He fought colon cancer at 79 years old.
He was almost completely deaf and blind in his final years and never made a fuss about it.
He was resilient beyond human strength.
He created an incredible family with my Grand Maman, whom he loved for 69 years.
He was a romantic, still picking out jewelry for my grandmother a few days before he passed away.
He valued family above all.
He has been in my life since the moment I was born and there for me every step of the way.
He carried me in wheelbarrows full of autumn leaves.
He sat and played Lego with me for hours.
He even dressed up in a blue bunny suit for Easter.
He made the best morning fruit platters and “crudité” trays for us to steal from.
His jokes and smiles were contagious.
His songs were cheery and uniting.
His speeches were unparalleled.
His bedtime stories were creative and calming.
He loved golf and cross-country skiing.
He enjoyed walks at Centre de la Nature and more recently, around his residence.
He walked around the building 2-3 times the night before he last went to the hospital.
He skated with my grandmother for years because he knew she enjoyed it.
He was the most stylish 93-year-old grand papa.
He was the most knowledgable.
He was eloquent and handsome too.
He was simply the best.
He left an impression on everyone he met, from the cashier at the store to my closest friends.
He was President of the elderly people’s home for 6 years, in his 80s.
He played scrabble on his iPad, with a magnifying glass, until his last day.
He also read books, one line at a time, with the help of a magnifying screen.
To think of a world without him is like a garden without flowers.
To be at a concert and not hear the music.
To eat a homemade chicken soup and not taste it.
He loved to remind me of a sentence I’d said as a toddler to our cleaning lady: Assis ‘Ambault,
It’s your turn now Grand Papa.
You will be missed every second of every minute of every hour of every day.
Assis Grand papa and rest in peace.
We will take care of Grand Maman while you are gone.
We will try to love her as profoundly as you did.
We will attempt to live up to the legacy you left behind.
We will forever love you beyond what words can express.
I find solace in the idea that he is at the bar having a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau, of limoncello or even champagne with my dear friend John, My grandpa Tom and My grandma Bridget.
And as my uncle Tom wrote: ‘ Gilles was some man for one man.’
And my cousin Irene: ‘ When I think of Gilles, I have the image in my head of a lovely smiling, warm-hearted man. (…) I was starting to believe that himself and Claire were going to live forever! ’
I must admit, I did too.
RIP Gilles Lavoie – 1926-2020