Heroes in my Life

I posted on Monday that I’ve been losing myself in this world of depression, I didn’t think things would get worse, but somehow they were able to.  I’ve reached the point where all I want to do is sleep and not wake up, to finally have peace. While you are reading this, I’ll be getting ready to go to the viewing of my one of my grandfathers.

About an hour after publishing the piece on Monday, I received news that my mother’s father passed away a few moments before I was contacted. I knew he was not doing great. The day before I spent at his bedside talking about the good times we had when I was younger and crying and apologizing for not being around the past 3 years out my own stupidity. He had been bed ridden since a stroke a few years ago that left him paralyzed on his one side. Friday night he became violently ill and would not recover.

This amazing and remarkable guy meant the world to me, still does. He introduced me to history, painting, calligraphy, photography, sketching, classic movies and music, and my first set of tools. (Ok they were both mine and my brother’s, we had to share.) We would have marathon games of Monopoly, and watch the home movies he took of my mom and her brother, of them building the house they lived in. We’d take walks in the woods behind their house, or go swimming at the pool, pony and balloon rides at my Grandmother’s company picnic. He would be at every ballet recital taking photos and handing me flowers after.

There were family vacations that I’ll never forget. Always to the beach where we’d see the wild ponies, and dolphins. That one time we saw a pregnant mare with a stork sitting on her hindquarters making jokes that it was her due time. Sitting with him and his brother after dinner listening to stories of when the were younger and causing mischief, not that they ever stopped either (explains a bit about my brother and I and that we just didn’t inherit from our father). The love of motorcycles was born from my grandfather. The pictures of him and his brother with their Harley’s is pure love. He never lost that care free attitude and love of living.

He didn’t just introduce me to the arts, he gifted them to me. If it wasn’t for him, my writing, painting, photography, all of it, would not exist. I inherited this through him, as he did from his family. He comes from a line of artists, writers, musicians. My dad’s side of the family were not artists, and my grandmother wasn’t either. It came from grandpa. I do it all but singing. Trust me, my kitten sings better than I do, however I do write, play instruments, sculpt, paint, draw, craft, photography (though the writing is much harder at this moment).

He taught me to see the good in everything, to look at life through the viewfinder. That’s where you will see the magic. Even when he was bed ridden those last years, he always had a camera with him to take photos. An artist ’til the end. I miss him each and every moment. To that end, I’ve pulled out all of the art supplies, and the drafting table he gave me that have been to each and every new apartment, and have begun a series of painting some of my photography, so I can have all he introduced me to with me always.

Sadly, the tale doesn’t end there. As I was finally wrapping my head around his death, and trying to pull myself together, I received more news. My father’s father died. He had been sick since the winter and slipped into a state that made him weaker and weaker. Dementia took over, and he finally slipped away. That was Wednesday. Within the span of 3 days, I lost 2 of the men in my life that helped to shape who I am.

Growing up, I was always Lindsay or Linds, but to my dad’s father, I was Linnie. I would smile each time he’d say it. I was his Linnie. I’m crying just thinking about it. He’d see me and give me the biggest hug and kiss, and yell “Linnie” when he’d see me. He was also at all my ballet recitals smiling and full of hugs. He had a harder life, so he was a bit rough around the edges, but I loved each of those edges just as I loved my other grandfather as well. He was a steel worker, and before that, a US Airforce man. That’s where he met my grandmother. They both were military people when they were younger.

There were always animals living in his house. Dogs, cats, birds, they all lived there at different times. I was never without seeing a pet when I visited them. Because of that, my dad and mom always had pets as well as we were growing up. I also learned by observing that when your parents get older, you take care of them. Until she died, his mother lived with them. I got to see my great-grandmother quite a lot as she lived with my grandfather and grandmother.

My dad and grandfather are the ones that introduced me to whisky, the cure for everything when you’re sick, well just about everything. I also learned, which it’s funny to think about, but being raised in a Steel Town, when the mills were working, you knew who worked at which mill by the beer they drank. My grandfather, he was an Iron City man. The 2 other beers were Duquesne and High Life I believe, though PBR might have been in there too. I’ve always been a beer and whisky girl thanks to this.

I learned to play cards from Grandpa. I learned Spades and Hearts and a version of Aggravation Rummy. We loved playing cards.  We’d watch old movies and westerns together. Family vacations meant both Grandfathers getting together and we’d have John Wayne marathons. Though I’ll be honest, I have 2 favorite Westerns, and while one is a John Wayne (McClintock!), the other is not. Magnificent 7 just wins hands down for me. I would love family vacations where I’d have both Grandfathers and my Great Uncle together because we’d have movie marathons. We’d have the westerns, and we’d have the Tom Clancy movies, and the Bourne Series, and anything else. We just loved movies.

Still waiting on arrangements for my father’s father, though in the meantime, this glass of Tully’s is for you Grandpa.

They both taught me so much, work ethics were instilled to me, as well as having an open heart. Neither of them gave up, and they gave their all. They were fighters and stubborn to the end. They both accepted so many people, and I watched my one grandfather over come prejudices and become friends with people he swore to never befriend.

If only I can live up to their legacies.

First, I need to live.