The anniversary of his passing is on February 23rd and I can still feel the anguish that night I got the phone call.
I have many regrets when it comes to my grandfather. I didn’t have enough time with him, I didn’t write him enough, I should have called more often…all of these things (and more) I can’t stop thinking about when I think about him.
It’s only too easy to get into your own head and JP knew this. He truly was the most genuine and wonderful person I’ve ever met and if I can find the slightest bit of joy he experienced in his life, then I can consider mine a life well spent. He was always so polite – calling women by their surname, “Bonjour Madame Belanger”, he would keep a personalized pen on him at all times, and he would always dress for the occassion (pocket square and all).
You may think I’m crazy, but I talk to my grandfather all the time. I ask for advice and in many cases I ask: What would JP do?
I spoke at his funeral. I read a poem that he gave my Uncle Taz and I read a creation of my own about my experiences with him. I wish I could have said more. I have him in my home at all times, and his urn is my most precious possession.
I learned many things from my grandfather. In fact, I learned more about life from him than anyone else. My Uncle Taz posted a list of everything that he’s ever learned from JP – I have to say, I couldn’t add anything to it except for: There’s always time for a Mars bar. (He had a love affair with them 😉 )
Take a look, these are good lessons. Many are repeats, however re-worded, but this makes them that much more important.
JP’s Rules of Life
1. Mind your own business, be aware of ulterior motives in asking questions about another’s whereabouts and what they do, ‘Let it be’ or allow others to be and live and learn for themselves.
2. Life is ahead of us not behind us. Live in the moment, no regrets, learn from the past but do not live in the past.
3. Forgive and give the benefit of the doubt to others and yourself.
4. Give others freedom to be, and claim it for yourself while you are at it.
5. Live your life not someone else’s.
6. Wake up with a song in your heart.
7. Don’t worry be Happy!
8. Choose to be happy and accept what has been and what is. If it is not going good right know, it will go better later on.
9. Look at the bright side, the other side does not benefit anyone.
10. If you cannot change anything that happened find the positive aspect of what happened, it is there always and all ways.
11. Do not fear death, for if you do you cannot fully live.
12. Butter is better and 35% cream is Divine.
13. Praying each night works.
14. Be wary of judging events too fast, there is always more to the story that has yet to be revealed.
15. Do not take politics or yourself too seriously, read the comics if you can and laugh at yourself as often as you can.
16. Old age is not a dis-ease it is an eventuality and it can be experienced with grace, dignity and pride.
17. Do what you love to do, Simple!
18. Be on the lookout to learn something new each day, only a fool really thinks he or she knows everything. Decide to be educated and each day you will become more so.
19. Appreciate the gift of life and live fully each moment, life is a Gift.
20. Follow through on your convictions, do what you say you are going to do, otherwise refrain.
21. You have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason
22. Be true to yourself and honor your boundaries.
23. Be open minded to the prejudices of the world, be open minded to new people and opportunities.
24. Go to sleep and choose to awaken happy. Today is a brand new day for adventure, fun, and enjoyment.
25. Whistle while you work, rejoice while you play.
My grandfather is really the only person that I’ve ever felt that familial bond with. I’d do anything for him, and I have always done as he asked. In fact, I have only shared this with a few people, but on his deathbed, he asked one thing of me – it was his regret, but I could certainly help with it. He regretted that my older sister and I never acted like sisters – that we never had a sisterly relationship. I promised him that I would set my problems aside and reach out to her; for him, I would look past her flaws and manipulations and try to salvage that relationship.
I did it, and I was happy that I did. Despite the other issues in the way now that are beyond my control, JP really knew that the bond with my sister would be an important one and that I should salvage as much as I could.
Today, I will be sitting down to a homemade breakfast of fried potato medallions, baked beans, eggs, bacon, and a hot cup of coffee.
This was the breakfast that he would make all the time and I hope that it will be the start of a wonderful day appreciating life as much as JP did.
I miss you, JP.