It was one of those moments you remember forever.
An instant in time seared into your brain with details as vivid and sharp as they day it happened – and I was only four.
Me, my sisters and a couple of cousins were visiting Grandma one hot summer day and we were playing a game where you could not touch the ground.
It was, of course, molten lava (like all suburban driveways are) so we would jump from the stairs to the hood of Grandma’s 1969 Chevrolet Impala.
There were no concerns about damaging the car. Those old Chevies were so tough you could drive a tank over them and, more than likely, you would damage the tank.
The game was simple: whoever touches the ground is turned into a flaming puddle of goo by the roiling ocean of lava that, although deadly, could not hurt a Chev Impala.
We were playing in the carport because it was pouring rain outside. There was also plenty of thunder and flashes of lightning, but we had bigger concerns. We had to survive the deepest reaches of the lava-filled jungle.
One of us would jump onto the stairs and the rest would follow, we would then jump back onto the car as part of our daring adventure.
In grandma’s backyard was a clothesline. One end was attached the house, the other to a large steel pole at the far end of the yard.
When lightening struck that pole it was the loudest bang I have ever heard in my life. (I still get a little freaked out by loud bangs.)
Grandma was looking out the back window and saw the 1.21-gigawatts of electricity hit the pole.
She watched as a surge of electricity spread out across the lawn in an electric blue colour. She saw it head along the clotheline – straight for the carport.
We heard the bang and saw a flash, but were unharmed because we were all on the car and the rubber tires insulated us from the free-range voltage.
We then screamed at the top of our lungs and made a mad dash for the safety of the house, and more important, the safety of Grandma who we knew was bigger and stronger than whatever it was that caused that bang.
We reached the door the same time grandma did and five scared, crying and very freaked out kids wrapped ourselves around her like we were made of Velcro.
With the right proportion of cookies and hugs, Grandma calmed us all down and we decided to spend the rest of the day in the safety of Grandma’s presence.
My children recently lost some of that safety when their Grandma, my wife’s mother, passed away.
It is a big loss for our family as she was a much-cherished member of our clan.
I poked fun at her on occasion in this very column, but she knew how much I loved her and how important she was to us all.
She was a woman of amazing faith and strong character.
She loved to laugh and had a wonderful sense of humour. I would like to say she lived a life of luxury and privilege, but it was a life of trial and hardship.
From losing her mom when she was nine and being raised in foster care, to struggling with a variety of health challenges, life was not always easy for Kathleen Rose.
She faced more than her share of hardships, but through it all she never lost faith in her God, she never put her own needs before others and she had a heart of gold like few people I have ever met.
It was a sad day when she passed. We walked around in a daze, not wanting to believe what reality was telling us.
Tears came easy those first couple of days, slowly replaced by the constant gnawing of knowing she gone.
I know the pain will subside over time, but I also know there will always be an empty space in our lives.