Face it

At some

Point you have to

Admit that whatever

You’re looking for is not out there –

Defeat.

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Unconditionally

I’ve wondered if I

Would ever be able to

Love someone that way…

In Memoriam K.L.P.

My grandfather died last week. He was 95 years old and the last, and most, important man in my life. I suppose with someone at that age we are supposed to ‘expect’ that they will inevitably die – but we had no such expectation. I think we all believed he would just go on forever, because for all of his life he has been a pillar of strength, love and perseverance to my mother’s family. I know I would always think to myself that if the day came that he died – I would die too – I must, how could I not? He was my everything as a child.

He was THE best storyteller, as every night he would weave these long, never ending tales as he put me to bed. He was the engineer of all things mischievous and against  the ‘rules’ like crunching ice and giving it to me in baby pieces while my grandmother wasn’t looking. He altered my kiddies carnival costume every year so that I was my own front-line section, always unique and far more bejeweled than the rest. He traveled by bus for miles to bring chow for my primary school-mates and myself, many of whom remember him to this day. Many of the happiest memories of my childhood are of the time I spent with him, every year at the beach during vacation time going for walks amidst the rolling waves to collect sand dollars, shells and chip-chips. He could do no wrong.

As I grew older, visits were less frequent due to my being in school and eventually starting to work as I lived so far from him. But he was always there at the times I needed him. He attended my graduation from university (in lieu of my father)  with my mother and my aunt. When I began to do theater he would attend the shows and talk about them to everyone he knew after – His favourite being the very first show I ever did onstage. EVERYONE knew about his first grandchild – I doubt anyone has ever been as proud of me throughout my life as he was.

My grandfather was the strongest man I knew. He was a world war two veteran and a firefighter at an oil company / plant all of his life until he retired. Despite nearly losing his fingers in a lawnmower accident, having a pitchfork go through his foot, being speared by the bone of a sting ray and countless other catastrophes (even to the end with one kidney and a pacemaker in), he always endured – which is probably why I believed him to be invincible. He was a Titan.

Yes I knew better and I knew that life does not go on indefinitely  without an end. It grew increasingly hard as the years went by for me to face his mortality – illnesses and trips to the hospital grew more frequent but I thought that if I didn’t acknowledge it, it would not  – could not – be ‘real’. Even now, it has been a week and a half since his passing and I don’t think I have truly or even remotely even begun to accept that he is no longer with us.

I was asked to write and read his eulogy for the funeral. I tried to include bits and pieces of his relationship with everyone – his marriage to my grandmother which was just a few weeks shy of their 70th anniversary, his children and his grandchildren. But there is so much and MORE that one can say about a person that is SO important to them. No eulogy for mere minutes can do his presence for 95 years on this earth any justice. His burial spot at least was… fitting – for want of a better word. He has a view from his spot on the hill of the entire area he spent most of his life. It is a breezy place and it is not boxed in by any buildings nearby – just open space and lots of trees and peace.

My grandmother is 93 and has dementia – she has no short term memory- so she has not realized that he is really gone. But she knows that something is… missing and she continues to ask for him… I think “missing” is the only way to describe how I (and probably everyone else) feels – Like a part of you is missing – you just know that you are no longer whole in the way that you once were and it will never be fixed. You are now just less than what you were.

I may not be much of a church going person but I do believe in an after life and I have no fear that he rests in peace. There is no other soul I know fit enough to enter the gates that lead to beyond, so I do not fear for him. We are left to deal with the loss of a Giant. A man who was a patriarch, a father, a family man, a man of God, a dedicated worker, an entrepreneur, an entertainer, a dramatist, an artist, a friend, a handyman, a comedian, a storyteller – my Grandfather. There is nothing and no one who can replace what he means to me or the loss I feel. I can only hope that wherever he is, he knows how much I love him.

Avast!

I fooled myself into thinking

That I could navigate your dark waters

And sail winningly into

The harbour of your heart.

But the ruthless winds buffeted

My craft until the mast broke

Leaving me adrift

And the sharp threatening rocks below

Tore at the belly of my boat

Until water stormed in and I sank

Into the cold sea of despair.

I never found my way to the harbour

That I sought so feverishly.

I never knew that it was just a chimera,

A mirage, an epic phantasmagoria.

For craggy cliffs and jagged scapes

Were all that littered your core.

Futile Farmer

I tucked seeds away in the corners

Of your mouth and prayed furtively

Each night…. Hoping that sweet nothings

Would pour forth at the break of dawn,

Into my eager ear. Yet every morning

You woke unchanged and quizzical,

Spitting the promise of endearments

From between your teeth as you rose

Mute.