Tuesdays with Morrie, is the book that now sits on my nightstand. On the cover of this Mitch Albom book are the words: an old man, a young man and life's greatest lesson. Tuesdays with Morrie is all about several conversations between a student and his aged professor. With each Tuesday meeting that the two have, I seem to be liking and respecting Morrie, the protagonist of this book.
As I read it, my mind found its way to a very special person in my life. He knew me before I was born, he was the one who held my hand and guided me through the very first letters I ever wrote (at my Vidyarambam). He's seen me go to school, watched me grow into a teenager, written long (really long) letters to me, noticed my talent to sketch, encouraged me to read more and write better.
When my adolescence was at its peak, he pacified the angry young woman in me and often played that bridge in the generation gap between my dad and me. He took pride in my achievements and cheered me on. He's had a very special place in my world and will always be that irreplaceable gentleman who inspired me in more ways than one. He and his charming wife are so very dear to me and I would like to say that although this couple is neither my father's nor my mother's parents, they are my grandparents.
I look back at my long association with them and I think I have been so blessed to be so accepted, and so loved. To all who are acquainted with them, they have been an example to live by: never heard complaining about life or about senility. Ever since I can remember they have been as active as they could be, physically, intellectually and socially. They are all about being genuinely interested in everybody they know, I swear. They are all about spreading cheer and love and just not expecting anything in return. Just knowing them has made my life so much richer.
Retirement did not slow them down one bit. Their retirement was about building a home, making friends and making it a point to attend any function they were invited to even if it meant travelling for several hours together. It was only in the last four to five years that they had cut down on the travelling as it had really begun to get difficult to do so. When I was getting married I had passed them a message that I would not be offended if they could not come. Instead I could make a trip to their place and show them the man I had chosen for a husband. But they made it a point to come. This grandmother even told me "How could we not come when you were getting married?" I was so touched. They really had added me to their already big (a dozen, to be exact) group of grandchildren. Exactly! how could grandparents miss a grandchild's 'big day.'
That was a little over four years ago. Hubby and I caught up with them a few times in the next two years. Then we moved abroad. Two years later when we made a trip back home, we made it a point to drop in at their place. This time, in addition to seeing them, we had a baby to show them.
Things were really different this time. Much as I loved being there, it was painful for me. Age had begun to catch up with this grandfather of mine. He has difficulty walking. His memory has been slipping away too. Although he can still make some connection with me -- if he was told my father's name - he does not remember the many good times we shared or the role he has played in my life. He even forgets my name every now and then. I am not offended; not one bit. I love him just as much.
It is just so difficult to see the change in him. His easel and paints have been stowed away. He's not the conversationalist he once was, he does not even read the newspaper, a thing he looked forward to every morning.
He won't even be able to read this post that says how much I love him. I am just glad that as a school girl I wrote so many letters to him and was lucky to have had him write me such long and engaging letters (some of which I still have and will always treasure).
Before I got married, I wished that my husband-to-be, would be able respect my relationship with these grandparents who were not `blood-relations' as such. It turned out that I got much more than I asked for; I now have a a hubby who adores them just as much as I do. I only wish Achachan could know of this.
*** This post happened when I let my my mind rewind and let my fingertips key away... just couldn't come up with an apt title. Any suggestions, anybody? Or maybe I should just leave it like that)
Added 4 months later: Today I think of him