Grandfather was a strong and authoritarian man. His skin was tough, his eyes alert. He was impatient, generous, all energy. He liked to talk loud & clear, declaring sententiously. He survived a war so he always knew what he was talking about.
He used to enjoy football, bullfighting and Antonio Molina’s voice. He worshiped Jesús Nazareno and deeply respected Don Ramón, rest in peace. What a great mayor Don Ramón was!
Grandfather used to do things that not many people do these days: recycle oil to make soap afterwards; follow the Christmas lottery draw on the radio, making note of every single winning number; spend a whole day cutting bread into little pieces and the following whole morning cooking ‘migas’ with it until they were just right; sit in the shade drinking nothing, doing nothing, just watching the world go by, being peaceful & present, greeting neighbours by their names, when he still could remember them…
Grandfather was not a strong swimmer but when they were all going to the beach together, he was rising with the sun, setting his chair on the seashore with his big bottle of water right underneath it, buried in the sand to keep it cool after his hour and a half dip. Then he would have a long walk along the beach, and when the kids were arriving loaded with their buckets & spades, he had already had enough and his next goal was lunch, followed by the sacred ‘siesta’ that he would not miss for anything, in bed and wearing his pyjamas, just at it should be.
‘Grandfather’ is how we all used to refer, and still do, to my Grandfather Antonio. He would be 94 this week. He died at 91 and since then I have him more and more present each day, feeling proud & worthy heiress of his strength & lineage.
Grandfather had a hard life at first but full & peaceful later. Maybe, if he could make a choice, he would prefer to live a shorter one but with more dignity in his final years. If we could choose how and when to go…
It must be truly beautiful to hold a grandparents title in our CV. Having grandparents and sharing time with them is a precious blessing that only a few can enjoy. Some people say that grandparents love their grandchildren even more than they love their own kids, and grandchildren who had loving grandparents carry them in their hearts and memories forever.
To me this is another reason not to be afraid of death. Because at the end of the journey, our grandparents will be there waiting for us, holding their hand out to welcome us; smiling, ready to show us that new world that they know and in which we will be apprentices once again, just like children, looking at everything with tender eyes, attach to the hands of our wise grandparents.
This is for you, Grandad. Happy birthday, wherever you are. We love you loads.
“The Mountain sat upon the Plain
In his tremendous Chair
His observation omnifold,
His inquest, everywhere
The Seasons played around his knees
Like Children round a sire
Grandfather of the Days is He
Of Dawn, the Ancestor.”