Friday, May 23, 2008


My Grandpa died recently, and at the funeral I gave a short speech on behalf of my family. Cleaning up the house, in preparation for Asura moving in later today, I found the paper I had handwritten it on and was about to throw it away. I thought better of it, and have decided to preserve it here. It is a bit rough in places, as a scribbled first draft will be, but it is also from the heart, as a scribbled first draft will be.

How do you summarise a life? I don't think that you can recount all the words and deeds. But it is by someone's deeds that we should know them.

It is only relatively recently that I got to know my grandpa's history. One of his characteristic features was his relatively quiet presence. I don't think that it is necessary to have done great deeds to be a man - you don't need to explore unknown rivers or build a nation to be a man. A man's true deeds are much more subtle. His very life and the way he lives it - the example he sets- these are the deeds we should measure.

As I've said, my grandpa was softly spoken. I never heard him raise his voice - he never needed to. His word, when used, carried the weight of authority.

Despite provocation, I never saw him truly get angry. As a child, I had recent discovered that grass could be used to make green marks and his newly painted bungalow wall was the perfect canvas for me to continue this experiment. He was annoyed, but still I don't recall him raising his voice in anger or otherwise.

My grandpa always seemed content with what he had. He didn't seem to seek some elusive extra. I was amazed that he could eat a bar of chocolate over a week or two. It did however provide me with the opportunity to sneak downstairs in the middle of the night and nibble on it. This allowed my grandpa to show his keen eye and detection skills and deduce that the small teeth marks were mine.

My grandpa had huge reserves of patient and had time for everyone. He helped me learn to read, ensured I remembered my times tables, and eventually I could name my favourite dinosaur, Archaeopteryx.

The summary of my grandpa's life is before you, and around you. His family and friends. The people he influence by being himself. The summary of my grandpa's life is me. And for that I am happy and thankful.

1 comment:

neilwilliamson said...

That's beautiful, and very moving.