On December 6th, 2015, we lost my grandfather Joe Godin. The following is a eulogy I had written for him.
Warning: It's a tear jerker.
Joseph Godin had been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. He and my Grandmother, Barb, had been together since my sister Joanna was born, and so he had always been a grandfather figure to us. However, we were never allowed to call him Grandpa. When I asked why, I was informed that Joe felt he was far too young to be a grandfather at the time.
Every summer as we grew up, Grandma and Joe would take Joanna and I at the end of August for holidays. Every summer, Joe would drive 5 hours one way, and 5 hours back to pick us up, and to drop us back off. Every trip was an adventure for us. They brought us to the Toronto Zoo, the CN Tower, and the Expo over the years showing us that the world was a much bigger place than the little town we knew. Joe also took us canoeing on Orr Lake, for walks around the Wye Marsh, and camping out in Algonquin Park. And every single day of those summer holidays, my sister put 3 or 4 pony tails into Joe’s hair.
In later years, as I went to college, I moved in with Grandma and Joe for about 5 years. In that time, Joe taught me a great deal about patience and tolerance as he dealt with me and my young foolishness when it came to women and cars.
As I have thought about Joe this past week, I have recalled several fond memories, but there is one memory which stands among the strongest.
One summer, back when Grandma and Joe still lived in Elmvale. I can remember Joanna and I running around their house, and coming across a large case in the basement. When I asked Grandma and Joe about it, Joe took me aside to the room with the case, and he opened it. Inside was a bass guitar that had belonged to his son. It was then that I learned that Joe had a son, and that he had passed away. I do not remember how long Joe spoke to me, or what stories he told. Just Joe sitting in a chair with his son’s guitar and me sitting on the floor starring up at him. Joe playing some open notes on the guitar as he talked. I remember the feeling of the room, and the love he had for his son. This was the first and last time Joe had ever talked to me about his son.
I think that this was the moment that defined the relationship that I had with Joe, and it’s one of the defining moments which has made me who I am today.
Several years later, I picked up a bass guitar for the first time. It was the first time I had held an instrument and felt a connection. I re-lived a part of that moment, only this time it was I playing the open notes. It was at that moment that I decided to become a bassist, and it’s that strong memory that I draw upon every time I go up to perform. It may not be a particularly happy memory, but it goes to show the strength and the character of a man who had a profound impact upon me and my life, as I know he had on so many others. And now every time I perform, I know that I will carry his strength on stage with me.
Today, we all say goodbye to a man who was one of the most kind, generous, and patient I have ever known. Who loved the people around him and was greatly loved. We have all lost a great figure whom can never be replaced.
Dec 6th, 2015