Grandpa is Gone

the farmer’s grandpa is gone…  our middle son got one last wink in with him, our daughter was told that she was beautiful and our oldest son got to say ‘I love you’ in between hockey skates…

and the farmer got to tell him that if he was waiting for harvest to end to go, that he promised we’d finish harvest…

we had a sense he was trying to wait until harvest was complete to leave us... it has always been the first thought on his brain… farming…

this is why, in the hospital, grandma told me that she wasn’t sure if grandpa was asleep or not because he appears to be but the moment Jason would come in the room and speak, grandpa’s eyes would open and he’d talk to him…


farming with your grandpa is a blessing…  and the knowledge and stories and history that you can learn from it are better than any schooling can provide…

when you live in a community as small as ours, you realize you are walking in the footprints of your grandpa…  almost down to the exact details…

the church he was a huge part of in Kelfield played a big part of the farmer’s life…  the same store, the same post office, same clinic, the same fields being seeded and harvested every year…

towards the end, grandpa needed the farmer to refer to the fields by their older names… the ones that he would have used back when he was farming…

we knew he was ready to go…  but it is still a closing to a story that is so a part of who we are that it’s difficult to figure out how to let it end…

I watched grandma trying to figure this out… and they had conversations on how to figure this out… how to say goodbye…  to the person you have spent every night with and every day talking to for 65 odd years…  your best friend… 

I remember when he had retired from farming but would still drive around and watch it all…  and he’d call grandma on the radio at 11:45 am and tell her he was on his way for lunch and was getting the mail…

and then again at 5:30 pm I hear his voice crackle over the radio again… ‘Joyce, are you by Joyce?’ …  and then only give her about 15 seconds to reply before another, ‘Joyce, are you by?’

(I do remember wondering if the farmer and I would get to this point, but now with the cell phones no one will hear us!)

she’d respond ‘yes’… and he’d tell her that he was on his way home for supper… to which she would lovingly and patiently reply ‘ok’

the farmer was able to share some fantastic moments with his grandpa…  and he also shared his absolute lowest with him as well…

in this moment, grandpa replied with an ‘oh boy’ to the farmer and also with a hug… that’s the thing about grandpa’s…  they hug you and never, ever stop loving you

I read the obituary and grandma wrote…

“Lorne and I had sixty-four and a half wonderful years together.  It wasn’t all sunshine and roses of course.  There were strong differences of opinion at times, with hurt feelings and disappointments.  But our love for each other, our family, and our Lord helped us through the rough times; and I should add, a sense of humour sure helped.”

this was the thing about them… they never claimed that farming would be easy, that raising children would be easy or that the weather would be perfect… but they showed the farmer and I what a true, loving, honest relationship looks like… and it can end with a best friend and being so in love that you ache when you have to say goodbye to your best friend…

I wrote this letter to Grandpa for his 90th birthday this summer…  seemed appropriate to share it now…

happy 90th birthday grandpa kelly

Happy 90th Birthday!!!   to an amazing Grandpa and Greatgrandpa!

My early memories of Jason introducing me to his Grandpa were you having this twinkle in your eye and bugging me about my knowledge of the farm.

I think you knew I was in for a culture shock!

But I think you also knew that Jason and I were a good fit for each other.

My memories of you early on were reading the bible story at Christmas get-togethers, Kelfield church times with you, delivering meals to the field in my little car and setting up a table and chairs for you to eat at.

You’d always ask me how I was doing, compliment my cooking and make me feel better.

I also had heard many stories from Jason of how important you were in his life growing up.  I could tell that you and him had a very special relationship.   And still do.

He’d tell me how he hung out at your house a lot to watch tv and when you went to Arizona that Grandma would leave baking in the freezer for him.

He was very proud of the farmer you were and everything you did that was so hard-working and smart to get the farm to where it is today.

Your love for farming has pushed him to be the farmer he is today.

I remember the first time I heard you call him Sam and I asked him why…  and he said ‘he’s always called me Sam’

You and Grandma have always helped us out, any way you can.  Whether it be buying me my first dishwasher or bbq, or taking us out to eat.  You have always done everything you can to make sure we are ok.

Living in a small community, it is very nice to be able to be proud of your last name.   And being a Kelly has been a pleasure.   The amount of people in the community and elsewhere that you and Grandma have helped, prayed for, encouraged, given your time to is staggering and we are so proud to be a Kelly.

I was having to correct Ethan the other day on some questionable behaviour and my words to him were “you are a Kelly… this is not how we roll”

…  meaning, you are a Kelly… behave accordingly…  🙂

Your passion for supporting missionaries and seeing the Good News preached all over the world is wonderful and you have impacted many through your gifts and support of missionaries.

Jason likes knowing that you care about the farm and no matter where we are, what we are doing, I have seen him over the years return or take every phone call you have placed and I know this a very special bond that you and him have.

He remembers the first time he went picking rock with you…  it was in the back of a truck and he was in the back…  and he somersaulted out the back of it and the truck drove away…  and he thought he better hurry up and run to get in the back of the truck…

Then in church on Sunday you gave him $10 and he thought he was rich… and Tammy told him he should give some back to you… that it was too much… (she didn’t know that he rolled out of the back of the truck)

The way you pray for and love all of your grandkids is never ending.   You will not stop praying and supporting us no matter what our failures have been.   This is the special relationship a Grandparent can have with a grandchild.   Just to love and support and Jason knows how important he is to you.

You have been through a lot in your life.   Jason still absolutely loves hearing your early farming stories.  These are so important to keep telling so we can remember where we came from as  a farming family.

You make our children feel like they always have a safe place at your house.  That they are loved and special.

Have a wonderful birthday Grandpa!  We celebrate you because you deserve it.   You have led this Kelly family with a sense of holy responsibility, faith in something bigger than you and an attitude to be generous and give back to the world.

We love you

Catherine and Jason and family

One thought on “Grandpa is Gone

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  1. Wow! Loved reading this tribute I didn’t want it to end. You have beautifully captured the relationship between a grandchild and grandparent.


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