My grandfather passed away a few years ago after a brave battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In his prime, he was a tall, strong man who could move a washing machine or refrigerator without batting an eyelash. The success of his appliance store earned him the nickname “Trainload” Jackson and he was known for having a heart of gold. He and my nana had been through a lot together, having raised four children, countless grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.
After the funeral, we gathered at nana and papa’s house for snacks and I sat down in my papa’s favourite chair. On the table beside it was the notebook that papa had used to write notes to nana after he’d lost the ability to talk. There, among requests for food or water was, “What would I do without you?”