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My wife (right) with her grandmother (left) at our engagement party in 2013
My wife (right) with her grandmother (left) at our engagement party in 2013

To me, this is as much a life blog as it is a business blog. Sometimes, what happens in life completely overshadows what happens in your business, forcing you to take time away and keep your friends and family on track. That’s exactly how I would describe the events of the past week.

We lost a very dear member of our family last Thursday morning. Despite having known her for just about 5 years, Grandma Mac left a lasting impression on me, welcoming me into my wife’s family as if I were another beloved flesh-and-blood grandchild. She will be deeply missed as my wife and I prepare to welcome our first child to the world, which would have been her fourth great-grandchild.

These are my thoughts in reflection of this sad event, which I shared with the rest of our family at yesterday’s funeral service. I share it here to let you in on a slice of my life I never want to forget. After all, you really never know when you’ll get your last chance to say goodbye.

About this time exactly one week ago, four generations of Camerons and McGunnigles got together for dinner at the family matriarch’s home, as immaculate as the first time I had set foot in it nearly five years earlier. The children and grandchildren, including my expectant wife, with accompanying spouses, and even on down to the great grand twins, all gathered under one roof. The air was warm with love as the smell of literally everything on Boston Market’s menu filled the place. It felt like Thanksgiving in August.

Victoria and I were especially excited on Sunday. This was our first chance to share the ultrasound photos of our child with her. When we introduced her to our still unnamed and ungendered baby, her face lit up. She was so happy knowing that another great grandchild would soon make the next family gathering even larger and warmer. She stared at that sonogram all night, smiling from ear to ear, imagining the possibilities.

When she met me, Grandma Mac made a point of recognizing how well I treated her granddaughter. My takeaway from this is that this must have been different from how other guys acted when they were with Victoria. Regardless, after just dating for a few months, she declared me worthy of membership as a Cameron. This endorsement from a woman as learned and experienced, who had seen it all in her 90 plus years, bestowing her blessing on me. To know that there was another family voluntarily welcoming me, providing another source of love and strength, that meant the world to me. That became a sacred bond I cherish to this very day.

At the end of dinner, while Joanne and my wife were packing up the cars before the rains came, I made a point to stay behind for a few minutes and tuck Grandma in for the evening. That’s when I noticed she kept the ultrasound we gave her in an honored place by her bedside. The last thing she’d lay eyes on at night and the first she’d see in the morning. I gave her a hug and a kiss.

“I’m glad you had a good time tonight, Grandma,” I said loud enough so she could hear.

“I’m so happy to have you in our family. You make my granddaughter so happy,” she responded.

I smiled and corrected her. “Our growing family. I love being a part of it, too. She makes me very happy as well. You all do.”

“I think it’s going to be a girl,” she said, pointing at the picture.

“I think you’re right,” I replied.

We embraced and kissed once more, said our I love yous and I left. Returning to my car, I apologized to Victoria for taking so long, noting that you never know when might be the last goodbye. That advice seems sadly prescient now, just one week later.

I’m not a spiritual man. I don’t profess to know the secrets of the universe. Still, I believe that all consciousness exists somewhere out there when it’s not in corporeal form. So right now, I’d like to think Johanna is with our unborn child, pulling from her experience to prepare them for life in this world, sharing with them how wonderful their parents and grandparents will be and how much love they’re being born into. A godparent from the other side, if you will, shepherding the soul of our new family member all the way through to the gateway of mortality.

We’re going to miss you, Grandma Mac. We’ll see you again soon.

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