The image of my late grandfather popped into my head Wednesday morning.
He died 15 years ago this month.
I didn’t remember the exact date he breathed farewell to the world, so I looked through pages of Winnipeg obituaries and found it. Frank Liewicki died Jan. 13, 1999 at the age of 72.
It’s hard to believe it has been more than 15 years since I last saw him. Harder to fathom is how he missed out on a magical memory.
About five weeks after my parents and I flew from Edmonton to Winnipeg to attend his funeral, we were back home and my mom gave birth to a baby girl.
In Grade 5 at the time of Sara’s birth, I finally had that younger sibling I always wanted to boss around. Her and I have a nearly 11-year age difference, so my bossy side never really came out.
That was probably a good thing because my grandpa would not have tolerated me trying to impose my will on her — even though we lived 1,300 km apart.
He had three daughters himself. Moreover, I know he would have loved to hold the newest addition to the Liewicki family in his arms, especially if he’d known it was a girl.
The last time I talked with grandpa was a few weeks before his death, when I thanked him for the Christmas presents he and grandma sent for me. For the life of me I don’t recall what else we talked about other than my academics, but there’s one thing I sensed in his voice during that conversation. He was excited. Although I don’t know if his excitement was directly related to the impending birth of another grandchild, or if his mood was more spry than usual, my grandpa’s voice was different.
I wish I could relive that last conversation and had others with him as I went through high school, completed my six years of post-secondary education and finally made it into the workforce.
Alas, I didn’t get the opportunities many of my friends had growing up and getting to spend time with their grandfather. However, I believe I’ll get the chance to have a laugh and a conversation with him one day.
It will be all the more special when that day comes.
Plus, I will get to hear him utter his favourite saying: “That’s full of hot air.”
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks