Monday, August 10, 2009

Post Mortem and the Meaning of Life...

I spoke to my grandmother this morning. I called her as soon as the thought of calling her entered my head, without any hesitation. In the past, I have procrastinated, delaying several phone calls. I am sorry for that now. I had my reasons I suppose, even if some of them now seem selfish, but it saddened me when I called today and did not hear my Opa answer the phone. It saddens me even more knowing that I'll never hear that voice on the other end of the line again.

He never spoke for long during phone calls, but there was some sort of security, or stability... normality I suppose... with just the knowledge he was there, at home, with my grandmother. It was somewhat of a comforting thought I guess, for I had never known it to be any other way. Today when I called, it was so apparent that he was no longer there; that my grandmother is now all alone. She is being very strong and possibly more reasonable and rational than I have ever known her to be. She seems to now have far less demands and expectations of the world and her family. This makes me both happy and sad.

After speaking with my grandmother, I phoned my mother, who is still terribly sad about the loss of her father. Of course, I did not expect her to be anything but this, I too still find myself bursting into tears on occasion when I look at his photograph. The other day I asked C if it gets any easier, or should I just put the photo away for a while to avoid some of the sadness. He suggested I leave it up until I can look at it without having to well up; until I can look at it and smile and remember all the good things... the happy memories. I have many of those.

My grandfather was a lovely man. He adored his two children and two grandchildren. In return, he was adored by all four of us. His story has now become a huge inspiration for me.

( Weird. I am sitting at a favourite cafe, outside in the light rain, and I just smelt his smell; the smell I remember so well from sitting in his car. Now it's gone again.)

I want to paint. I need to paint. I want to dedicate my next body of work to his memory. After all, I have him to partly thank for my creative passion and artistic talent.

I have found myself becoming more and more curious about his heritage and his homeland of Russia. I found myself ordering a book of Russian fairy-tales online last week. It is the same book that was given to me as a child but I could not find it in the house. I remember loving it as a child, so I see no reason why I won't now, in fact I will probably get more out of it now, as an adult, than I did as a child.

I already have several ideas for new works. I tried sketching some of them the other day but I was so anxious and eager to get the ideas out and the images/works completed that I could not even draw. It was very frustrating.

I have also found it a little bit hard to write lately, on screen or paper. When I see the words appear it makes everything seem so much more real and right now I am having a bit of trouble dealing with reality.

I've often been called a dreamer... and I am O.K with that. Sometimes, in that world, everything is much nicer. Being a Piscean however, I am also part 'realist fish'. Some days I swim with the tide, other days against it. Part optimist, part pessimist. Sometimes I feel I am an expert at being both happy and sad at the same time. I don't always get to where I set out to go, but the journey is always interesting... sometimes even surprising, even in a good way.

I accept that the world we live in is far from perfect. My glass is neither half full or half empty... but it does exist.

It was a struggle and a surprise last week when my mother, (a normally optimistic, vibrant and happy person), turned to me and asked me the meaning of life. "I just wonder... what's the point of it all? Life? When one day 'poof'! you're gone." I stared back at her blankly for a good 3-4 seconds, frightened of what might come out of my mouth - and although my initial thought was, 'oh mum, you are so asking the wrong person' - I found a strange sense of comfort in my words.

After my few seconds of stunned silence, I felt calm and confident enough to provide some sort of answer... or at least a response. After all, is there really an answer to that question? Sometimes I wonder if we, (humans), ever find out - if not in life, then in death? It's a daunting thought for most to think that we don't - I suppose it just seems somewhat cruel... unfair... but then again, how do we measure fairness or even purpose for that matter? It makes more sense to me why people choose some sort of faith, in order to hold onto some sort of belief that there is something else... ?

Maybe this really is all there is. Am I O.K with that? My answer, I suppose, is 'does it matter'? My answer, or response to my mother was something along the lines of... "remember telling me how happy and proud he was when he received his diploma? His joy at becoming a grandfather for the first, and second, time... and then a great grandfather?" Words were just coming out of my mouth and we both just listened. "Mum, do you ever get excited about things? Do you ever, even if only for a second, feel such an overwhelming sense of happiness... pleasure... excitement that you forget about everything else?" I continued to suggest that perhaps it was these things, these moments, these feelings or intense emotions that gave our life on earth some sort of meaning or purpose. "I suppose so... Yes", was my mother's reply... and with that, it was like we both just accepted, (or not), that this indeed was a good enough answer to THE question, for better or for worse - and even if it wasn't, it was a good enough solution for now.

1 comment:

Poppy said...

I just wanted to send some condolences your way lovely girl. Losing one's Grandfather is hard, I still miss my Grampaw every day & it's been almost eleven years since we lost him. When I well up, though ... I just thank the stars that I got him as long as I did & knew him enough to miss him as much as I do. So many people I meet were never close to their Grandparents & I feel very sorry for them. It's a special connection to have.

I hope that despite this sad time, you are doing well. I have missed your writing, it is like an old friend.

Smiles & such,