Today would have been my beloved Papa’s(Alfred Schwenk ~ born and raised during his early years in Romania. Moved to Canada when he was young speaking only German. He taught himself English after realizing they didn’t speak German in Canadian schools. He embodied, participated & coached hockey, fastball & curling. All at elite levels. Spent his career working on the police force & later made the ice at the curling rink during his retirement. He was the king of facts. Especially about sports. Swept the women off their feet but ultimately won my Grandma, Solveig’s, heart. A blonde haired, blue eyed Scandinavian beauty who was engaged at the time. My Papa knew what he wanted. He never gave up. He eventually won her heart & held it tight for the rest of his life) 81st birthday. 6 years ago this past Christmas Eve the planet lost a wonderfully loving, kind, hilarious!, athletic, passionate & humble human being. My siblings and I are so blessed to have such a strong, close & honest relationship with our grandparents.
For as long as I can remember I adored my Papa & I know the feeling was mutual. He called me his little sunshine & as I got older, his blonde bombshell😂, I used to get so embarrassed as a teenager. He’d see me & gasp, “wowa! Here she comes. The blonde beauty. The blond bombshell!” It always made me blush on the outside but my heart was seriously smiling on the inside☺️ He absolutely adored me and thought I was one of the prettiest girls in all of the land. He was tall, handsome, strong & never without a huge smile. A laugh. The biggest belly laugh I’ve ever known! He was full of pranks. A spirit that was taken from us too soon.
Throughout my childhood my Papa was always there. School concerts, piano & dance recitals, competitive hockey & fastball games. Every year when winter would arrive, he’d be the first person I wanted to talk to when we’d have our first snow fall. I was so excited. He always loved how expressive I was. With everything. I felt so alive & myself in his presence. He had this energy. This positive attitude & grateful appreciation for life! It was contagious. He had a true passion for athletics. To this day whenever I’m running I feel his presence. My stride becomes longer & faster. There’s an element of ease that comes over me as I settle into a beautiful pace. The air on my skin always feels warm regardless of the season. I feel as if he’s holding me. Giving me a big squeeze. Guiding me to keep on keepin’ on. Never giving up until the very end. It’s through his demeanour, dedication & teachings I came to truly understand the phrase, “you’re stronger than you think.”
He adored my Grandma. Someone I am equally close with & thankfully, still have in my life to this day. Grandparents are such a gift. I feel so blessed every day to have had such a wonderful role model in my life & continue to have another every day. I spoke with my Grandma tonight. Reminiscing about my Papa. Wondering what he would be like today if he was still alive. Both of us wishing he had the chance to meet Tessa. He was a dog lover. And Layla. Oh my would he have had fun with her! I can picture him chasing her around, tickling her until she peed herself. This happened to me when I was small more often than I care to admit. To this day, if someone or something makes me absolutely roll uncontrollably, I barely make it to the bathroom. #truestory
So many wonderful moments shared. Memories made. Blessings given. My grandma(Layla’s GG, Solveig Lila Gotaas Schwenk) and I spent 2 hours on the phone together tonight. 2 hours! She’s one of my very best friends🙏 We miss Papa every single day. He remains snuggled in our hearts. The moments. Memories. They are all there to comfort us. Make us smile. Laugh. Mourn. Weave into our living lives today. Every single relationship in our life graces us with moments. Really heartfelt, real, passionate…moments. Memories. There are no good or bad. They are all beautiful & become a part of our life story. Blessings. I am so grateful to have had such an influential, well respected by me & others, honourable, wildly passionate & emotionally expressive man in my lifetime. He left quite the legacy. His spirit. Contagious energy. Unique gifts & talents. Have had a life beyond him. Outliving his time on earth.
For those of you who have/had people in your life that have graced you with beautiful moments. Memories. Blessings. Honour them! If you can, reach out. A time will come when you will never physically speak with that person again. When that time comes & you carry on. Never forget. Find stillness & bow in deep reverence for their contribution. To themselves. To the world. To you. Smile knowing that special human being is a part of you!
Happy Birthday Papa! We miss you to the moon….Grandma is well taken care of. We adore her & promise to keep her laughing until the day she falls into your arms again. I love you🙏❤️
From my heart to yours, with love & pure graciousness,