Back in October of 2008, my Grandmother, sadly, passed away, after a rather nasty, not to mention, lengthy fight with Alzheimer’s Disease. And, in response to that loss, I wrote a piece, titled The World Has One Less Hero. And as much as it pains me to write this, this has to be done. The world is, now, two down. This past Sunday night my Grandfather passed.
First, speaking of my Grandmother, what struck me as so remarkable about her service, in particular, was, following the proceedings, I was approached by a few members of my extended family, with comments on how amazed they were I addressed her being Deaf. For they never considered that fact much. And while, at first, I wasn’t quite sure where those comments sat with me, upon further analysis, it was so true. They were a part of our family first. Everything else was just second, if not, third nature. Or, better still, how they happened to differ wasn’t anything our family spent time thinking about. Signing was as natural as talking. The world should be so lucky…
Their difference was no different than, or to, any other member of my family. And, while I think it is extremely important to recognize and acknowledge, for, both, my Grandmother then, and my Grandfather now, I’m no longer certain them being Deaf is essential for everyone to remember.
Both my Grandparents were essential to my development as a kid. But my Grandfather, in large part, if not solely, formed my creative interests, especially. It’s no secret I function best when I am able to apply my creativity in life. Whether it is writing now, playing music before, or simply doodling — on the hundreds of “reams” of paper my Grandmother always had stashed away, from her work — as a kid, my Grandfather was there, every step of the way, influencing my development as an “artist.”
It all started with him teaching me how to “properly” sketch the human face. By planning what you want to draw first, by lightly sketching out the separate “areas” and proportions — where the eyes, nose, and mouth go, yes, but where they are and how they relate with each other, as a whole, as a face, are as important as any individual part — then adding detail, on top, later. That was when I started to realize there was much to learn about a passing fancy I had as a snot nose twerp. And, as it turns out, I, quite successfully — or so I’m often told Â — turned those lessons into quite a skill by the time I finished high school.
But there was something much more important than a certain way of expression, which is much better known as my skill to draw, that I’ve since lost. And that was “planning” out what you want to accomplish before trying to do it. Those lessons still, quite profoundly, serve me ’til this very day.
But that isn’t why I’m so honoured. Well, at least, in the current mindset that finds me writing this.
Rather particular characteristics of my character, specifically my need to have the things I do a particular way, are, almost always, compared to that of my Grandfather. The way he had his life ordered just so, or, more importantly, exactly the way he wanted and needed them to be. Even down to the pile of folded paper towels he, recently, kept in his shirt pocket. No matter how out of control life can be, and can often get, there’s always something you can do to instil order.
Frankly, I’ve never taken the correlations, between him and myself, any other way than “cute” comparisons. But now, now, it is truly my most sincere privilege to be seen behaving in such a manner to that of the great man, my Grandfather was.
For all who make that likeness, from this day forward, thank you. Believe me, when I write this, the honour is entirely mine…