Some folks may have noticed that I’ve been down over the last month, and that I may be a little more misanthropic about the holidays than usual. There is a reason for that, and that is because I have lost one of my touchstones in my life: my grandfather, Maurice. He passed away a few weeks back.
Words have power, and there are a few that I do not use lightly: my grandfather was my hero. His was not the heroism of big deeds, or dramatic actions… his was the quiet sort of heroism of selfless actions, of living every day by his principles, and of offering his help and love to those in need. Personally, he taught me how to use tools, how to negotiate with people. He helped me get my degree. He helped me when I lost my job and was about to lose my home. He taught me the value of respect. I don’t know a single member of my family who hasn’t relied on him at one point or another.
He wouldn’t just see that you survived, he would help you to live.
In all of my time with him, I never once saw him lose his temper, I never heard him curse, or saw him lift his hand in anger. There are stories from before I was born about the one time someone heard him curse, and my family was *still* talking about it 50 years later. (The story goes something like this: my grandfather was out for a Sunday drive with the family. They were out about 20 miles from town, when they felt a flat tire. They pulled over and it turned out that they had two flat tires, and only one spare. “Oh damn.” 50 years later, my family still remembers.)
He was a quiet man with a somewhat impish sense of humor. Words can never fully describe his personality, or his influence in our lives.
I miss him more than I can possibly say.