|Photo from the Canadiens Children's Foundation|
Every time there's a jersey retirement, a montage, anything about the Habs dynasties of the 1950s and 60s, my mom tells me that my grandfather loved those players. (I've mentioned this already, I know.) I don't really remember my grandfather talking about them, so all I have are my mother's memories. Seeing Jean Béliveau always made me think of that - my grandfather learning about hockey, living in this city when the Habs won Cups (18 of them, to be exact), and watching them in black and white on his very first television. Béliveau's work ethic, his kindness, his dedication to family - all of these things reminded me of my grandfather. That's why his passing was so difficult for me. I had to say goodbye to not only a great man, but a great man who reminded me of someone I loved very much.
Unfortunately there's nothing I can do now but offer my condolences to the Béliveau family, and hope that someday the hockey world will be lucky enough to see another player like him.
Edited to add: I found this piece from 2010, after he suffered a stroke. I bookmarked it because I couldn't bring myself to read it then, and still can't.