(I wrote this on the last night my grandad was alive, July 2nd 2013 which is why It’s all in pre-tense rather than past-tense)
In the last day I have seen both ends of the spectrum. The life that is growing inside my wife right now in the form of our daughter to-be and the life that is drawing to a close in the form of my grandfather. One is about to end as another begins. I suppose it’s all very ‘circle of life’ stuff and That there are seasons to everything, but this is a lot of change.
I’m only just adjusting to the idea of being a dad and having the responsibility of raising a little girl so that she lives a life like this man did. Almost 60 years of marriage to one woman, the willingness to get out and do hard work because it was an opportunity, an equal appreciation of the arts and the sciences, a live lived according to God. These are all part of the legacy of this short, sharp, bespectacled octogenarian who had so much wisdom that his head outgrew his hair.
He’s leaving me with some of the best examples of how to be a parent, how to love your kids regardless of what anyone says, how to look after them and raise them to be good (not to be confused with perfect) people. I would be a fool not to look to him and my grandma as examples of a marriage that works and of parenting that works. In that respect I still also have my parents who are living out the same ethos. 27 years married with three kids who have all turned out pretty well despite a whole lot of external shi…rubbish we went through as kids. My parents brought us up based on the example set for them and now my wife and I will be doing the same.
I’m sad that grandad won’t get to meet his great-granddaughter, but obviously it wasn’t to be. I’m going to miss his wit, his handshakes and his hugs. I’m going to remember his fondness for music and the medical science he tried to teach me. I’m going to remember the hours I spent as a boy in his office on the educational CD-ROMs he has, learning about all the things that laid the foundation for who I am as a music person and as an audio person. I’m going to remember the stamp collection, going for a ride on his 3-wheeled Honda 70, watching ‘Duck Soup’, climbing into bed with Grandma and Grandad on a sunny September morning.
And that makes me think, what will I be like when I hit that end of the spectrum? When my daughter is married and bringing her kids to visit us and I have to put my teeth in a glass. Am I going to be leaving the same kind of legacy for them as my grandfather did for me? One of a life filled with art and science, with love and compassion and affirmation, a legacy of a life lived rightly?
I guess that legacy starts right now, even if it is imperfect it starts now, and every hour of every day I choose to live it.
Here’s to you, Mr. Robinson. You’ve given us more than you will know.