What I see and what I think about it.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

My Grandpa

My Grandpa died a week ago today. He was 90. He had been ill for a while. And so his death, whilst sad, was not unexpected. For the last week I have been trying to write something about him on here. And it hasn’t really worked so far. (As you will be able to tell as you haven’t read anything yet!)
I think what his death has made me think about is what we leave behind. Our inheritance. Here in the UK there are a lot of people ranting and raging about inheritance tax. I don’t really understand it at all. It just seems a bit unfair. But whilst the government can take money away from us when a loved one dies there are many things it cannot.

So what I have inherited from my Grandpa:

Love. The bible says that love never dies. This is not just true of the love we give. But of the love we receive. I know that my Grandpa loved me and my brother, and his son and daughter (my dad and aunt). He was a quite old fashioned and wasn’t a hugging and kissing type. But he loved us. And he showed it. By providing for us. By spending time with us, being interested. By telling us stories. I feel this love as I sit here and type. It is with me. And so part of him goes on.

Memories. No one can take these away either. Towards the end my Grandpa was very frail. But that is not how I think of him. I think of him in the canoe when we were little. I think of him refusing to join in games at Christmas, but getting lots of enjoyment out of the rest of us playing. I remember the look in his eyes when he found out my daughters were not only to have my husbands surname but my maiden name (as a middle name). They are his only great grandchildren and I could see the pleasure and pride that we had chosen to connect them with the past and with him. I remember him whenever I speak their full names.

Crafts. My Grandpa whittled wood. He made the most beautiful wooden carvings. I haven’t carved wood but the creativity has come down the line and I love crafts of all sorts. I wouldn’t be surprised if I carve the odd duck of my own as the years go by.

There are strange things we inherit. I, like my Grandpa, am allergic to penicillin. I inherited a huge love of my country. He was Canadian and proud of it, even though he has lived in England for a very long time. His connection to his country has rubbed off on me. I am always proud to say that I have a Canadian Grandpa. This has, for some reason I can’t explain, got something to do with why I love England. I have inherited this love of country. I love photography, which he did too. And particularly photographing flowers.

These things just pass down, father to daughter, mother to son, father to son, mother to daughter. You never know where they will turn up next.

As I see my daughters grow up I know I will see them change and develop. I will see Grandpa’s traits come out in them. They, sadly, will not know the man I was so proud to call Grandpa. But they do have his name, a little piece of the inheritance. And when they ask me “Why, oh why” they have such strange middle name. I will stop and say, with a smile: “Well, there was this man called Russ and he was my Grandpa…”

No comments: