Sunday, 4 March 2012

Memories that Shape Us (A Tribute to my Grandfather)

On facebook the other day, I came across a picture of my grandfather's funeral. My whole family was present except me. The memories came flooding back, it was the funeral of the man who had raised me exclusively from the age of eighteen months till I was five years old. Even after my parents and siblings joined me in africa, I delighted in going to spend time at granddad's whenever I could.

My grandfather and I had a special bond, I loved being around him. I knew every nook and cranny of granddad's house, the whole household and the community at large took very good care of me.

The saddest part of this story was when my grandfather passed away, I was in boarding school, my dad was in Austria at some medical conference. The family must have decided to wait for my dad to return from abroad (him being the eldest son) and in the ensuing brouhaha and confusion, everyone forgot about me, the old man's favourite grandson.

I found out about my grandfather's death and burial from the newspapers. I was thirteen years old and without the skills and experience to handle the grief of losing my grandfather, I got into a lot of fights and a lot of trouble throughout the remainder of that term.

The pain of not of not being able to say farewell to a loved one who has passed is a kind of pain that sorts of makes you feel restless. In my case, the close support of my immediate family, mum, dad, brother and sisters enabled me to heal and get over the loss but I never got to say goodbye properly.

The facebook photo, brought memories of my grandfather flooding back and the fights I got into at boarding school the week my grandfather was buried are very vivid in my mind. I took on everyone. I battled the giants, the midgets and everything in between. My grandfather comes from a tribe of fierce warriors and although he had long ago discarded that aspect of his lineage at the time of his death. He  was a sophisticated, educated and quite urbane man. Oh how that warrior blood boiled! 

Now much older and more experienced, I now know how to keep that warrior blood in check and have also learn't that you cannot fight the whole world. We achieve more if we work with people toward a common good. That is one lesson I learn't from my granddad as I played around his feet when I was a child and visitors came to consult with him. It is one of the memories that have shaped me.

This is my way of saying goodbye to Papa that the love and the bond we shared, keeps him resting in eternal peace.


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