A while ago my grandfather passed away. He was elderly and very fragile physically and it should not have come as a surprise to anyone that his life was drawing to an end. However, for some reason, my whole world shifted in an instance. Not physically and nothing was different per say, but there is a giant gap where this man used to be.
For me he was the essence of my life, always a cornerstone, non-intrusive, stable and constantly present even though I live in another country. There was no other person alive I loved as long and unconditionally as my grandfather and no other person who loved me the same way. It is a rare gift to grow up in this faint but ever-present glow of love and with a caring parental figure who`s kindness was evident from the first breath you ware able to suck down.
My grandfather was someone who embodied perseverance, integrity, and humor as his core values. No doubt acquired through years of fuck-ups and comebacks we can only imagine as his generation was not prone to share, especially in tragedy and failures. I always got the sense he made it through anything by his love for his family and I`m sure it was tough going at times in the 89 years he managed through wars, recessions, personal and professional ups and downs and other marvels designed to break any spirit.
We didn't exactly make things easy for him either, but one thing was always clear, he loved us, all of us, even when our very existence seemed somewhat a waste of space in the big picture. But he always had hope for us. I'm not entirely sure whether any of us ever lived up to what we imagined he expected of us, but we still try, for him, for us, for our own kids, because it makes sense to us to be a better version of ourselves despite the shortcomings. We learned this from him. All of us.
We may just have been filling in the blanks for these particular life lessons as we were growing up at his table, reading the morning papers, starting with the comics, and then the little words and then eventually the crossword, all of us gradually soaking up his presence and laughter and hanging on his every gesture.
I miss my grandfather, but I miss myself with my grandfather even more. It's selfish maybe, but I haven't felt evened out ever since he died and most of what I do doesn't make sense to me anymore. I guess I'm still grieving, who knows. But perhaps I need to remember the simple little mantra from a man that always made sense. Take care of your health and heart and you will be happier than most.
So, on I go another day, stepping quietly, slowly but surely towards better health and a fuller heart.