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  • Writer's picturekallifrissell

A Swig of Swish

We lost my grandpa on October 31st after a lengthy battle with cancer. He hung on much longer than we'd anticipated, but his quality of life was definitely compromised over the past year.

When we got the news, Baylee and I made our way back to our hometown to reunite with family - cousins, parents, and extended family I hadn't met before. The weekend was tough and filled with tears, but it also felt surprisingly healing and almost rejuvenating to spend that time with family.

My grandpa's biggest passion was his accordion. He used to skip recess as a kid just to practice. :)

Anyways. There's one part of the weekend I wanted to share. I noticed "rising" that weekend in a simple act carried out by my dad.

I remember when I was little, the men in the family would pitch in to buy empty wooden barrels that had been used to store alcohol. They'd fill the barrels with water, and we'd all take turns rolling them around the backyard. At the end of the month, the water in the barrels turned to 40% alcohol, having leached out alcohol from the wooden walls its container. They haven't been able to make it in years, since you can't purchase the barrels anymore.

As we all stood by my grandpa's graveside, my dad pulled out a bottle of swish - he'd been holding onto it for years, just for this moment. We passed around shot glasses, and enjoyed a swig of swish for gramps. (It's incredibly strong, so "enjoyed" might not be the word!). It's hard to put into words, but it felt really powerful to share that moment together.

I am so grateful to have a dad who thinks in the way he does. This is just one example, but the fact that he tucked that last bottle away for years to honour his father-in-law added to how much I admire him. I want to be that kind of person who puts effort and thought into honouring the ones I love.

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