Life in Reverse

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

 






Yesterday my sweet grandpa passed away. Earlier this summer he was placed in a nursing home, luckily he ended up being really close to my house and me and boys spent many an afternoon visiting him for the last couple months. Several years ago I lost both of my maternal grandparents, both well before their time, in their early 60's. They were like parents to me and their deaths were very difficult. It was really tough (and still is sometimes). I have to say this feels so different. Happy even. Of course not happy that he's gone, I am going to miss him dearly, but it's lovely knowing that my grandfather lived to almost 90 years old. He lived a long, long life. There is just a certain joy that comes in knowing that a person you so love and admire simply got to live their life out. The life he wanted to live. And of course that I got to call him my grandpa for such a very long time too. He's been so special to me in so many ways.

On our first visit with him at the nursing home he kept telling me to remind him to get some of his artwork for my kids. I did. These are some of his sketches. The ones that remind me of him the most out of my little pile. He also did ink dot portraits (like this), but the boxes and boxes of sketches he has (an attic full) are mostly filled with political and social comics. It wasn't until I was teenager that I realized that he wasn't only fun and funny and good at drawing (and drew exactly like they did in the comic section!) but that he also was such a thinker and activist in his own right. I grew to love the juxtaposition of his vintage comic style sketches with his current event commentary. He completely dressed and lived as though it was still somewhere between the 30's and 40's but he always stayed informed and educated, always made up his own mind and encouraged others to do the same. He was a great person to have as a role model and it's a fabulous legacy I think to be able to share with my children.

This is so silly but when I was little my grandfather taught and his students looooved him. He would talk about him all the time and bring home little gifts they made him, and I think I must have been slightly jealous in the ways that kids are sometimes and I secretly wished I could be one of his students, but I would think he might be their teacher but he's my grandpa and then I'd laugh a little maniacal laugh in my head knowing of course that was way better. So there was obviously a little childish jealousy in that but it was also just pride. It was amazing to know that people just loved him so much. I have always been so proud that he was my grandpa. Still am. And when I think about him I just can't help but smile and feel so very grateful.

10 comments:

  1. Christine. I wish I had more, better, different words for you. Losing my grandfather was one of the hardest things I have ever endured, so I know. I'm holding you in the light today, and all days, my dear. And cherishing the time you and your boys had with him.

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  2. You darling. I'm so sorry for your loss, but am so imrpessed at the grace with which you're handling it. I'm sorry that your boys won't have more time with him, and you, too. He was so talented! His work is vaguely reminiscent of Quentin Blake, the illustrator of the Roald Dahl books. But more original and with so much fun commentary. I'm thinking of you and your sweet boys today. Sending hugs and cuddles, too. xoxo

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  3. I'm so sorry for your loss, Christine! There are no words that could comfort you, but I see your grandpa was a great man, a true artist and an intelligent, funny guy. Through these pictures, his wisdom has passed on to strangers like me, into the future and this is part of his legacy.

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  4. Christine, I read all of this and just think how beautiful it is that you have the wisdom and ability to celebrate what a wonderful life he had. I love your little story of being a kid and feeling a little jealous of his students. I can understand that and it's great that your kids have his illustrations to remember him by and think of him whenever they look at them.
    Hugs to you,

    Mary Jo

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  5. I'm so sorry for your loss. but it does sound like he lived a full and meaningful life, and that you could spend a lot of it with him. his sketches are amazing. I had no idea what this post was about when I went through them and was already wondering where you had found these treasures. keep them close :)

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  6. These sketches are wonderful to have and hold on to (especially that second one). My heart goes out to you and your family. Big hug to you my dear

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  7. I'm so sorry to hear the sad news, Christine. But you'll always keep him in your heart and you have such beautiful memories to cherish. The fact that he lived a long life must be of some comfort. It's unbearable to lose someone before their time.

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  8. I am so so sorry to hear about your grandfather passing away. At 90, his life was so long and I bet full even to the last day with visits from you and the boys. As for his illustrations, I love the sketchy and quick style - there is such movement in his sketches and I can imagine him drawing because of that. Thinking of you and hugs dear!

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  9. I'm sorry for your loss but I am happy you got to have him in your life as long as you did.
    I recently lost my grandmother and I struggled with the feeling of happiness for her as I know she has passed on to something better and sadness as I would not be able to hold her tight any more. Letting go is hard but you seem to do it with so much dignity and love. X

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  10. I am so sorry for your loss. It's lovely you can find the joy in the situation and that you were able to spend time with him before he went. Thank you for sharing his story and art with us.

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