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.