When my daughter was born she had three great-grandparents and four grandparents ready and excited to meet her. She had a Great-Grandpa Joe and a Grandpa Joe and her Daddy, Joe.

She had two Grandpas, one whose given name was Thomas but he always went by his middle name, and one whose middle name was Thomas and that’s what he always went by.

Her Grandpa Tom was born on December 6, the same day as the Halifax Explosion, which her Grandpa Joe spent the majority of his career studying. Her Grandpa Tom was an engineer, on his birthday in 1989, 14 women were killed for being women in a man’s place, at the engineering school in Montreal’s École Polytechnique.

Today would have been Grandpa Tom’s 72 birthday, but he died on December 3.

He is the third death in the family this year, and just like that my baby girl is down to one great-grandpa and two grandmas to love her.

It had been, as the Queen would say, an annus horribilis. There is no recovery here, there is only moving forward, remembering. There is no normal this Christmas, there is only family.

 

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