We all want to be remembered.
We are keen to remember those that are left behind and hope the same will happen to us once we have passed on.
We’ll never be forgotten.
Until we are.
As you have figured by now, we are going serious for this one. But hang with me for a few minutes here.
As those who have read the blog know, I lost my grandfather just over two months ago. And for me, the hardest part was the fact that, well…..I didn’t really know him that well.
Oh sure, I knew what he had done for a living, and I knew some things about his personal life, or at least what life was like when my mom was living at home. He had his uniform that he wore every day, which was a checked long sleeve shirt and long pants, never jeans.
But he was pretty private, and either he couldn’t or wouldn’t talk about a lot with anyone. The most interaction I had with him always happened when he was around the computer, either ours or his during holidays, trips to the house, or when coming down to school to help set up things in the dorm room or apartment. But these interactions were often little more than informal lectures on reasons to not do drugs (which I had never done nor ever considered), and stories about things that happened when he worked on the railroads.
That’s pretty much it.
So when he died, I was faced with feeling guilty that I had never been able to get to know him. Even though I know he had been like that long before I was born, we can’t help but sometimes feel like civilization and history had no existence until our birth.
Which in some sense, is true.
So we feel personally responsible when we can’t break through, or answer the question(s) that no one else had an answer to.
But there could be hope yet, my brain reasons.
My grandfather was a collector of many things. Surely lurking among the collections of a life are the revelations of a life lived.
So the uncovering process starts. And a few things become apparent. Here there are clocks covering the walls where each hour rings out and is readily apparent. Some home movies of trips taken long ago and many many pictures of dogs that were once family. Radios, multiples and often duplicated in design and make. Tools, in the same kind of denominations. The love of trains born out in the various recorded programs both professionally and personally recorded.
So you continue through the surface certain to uncover the heart found below. Except things start to become more scarce. Notebooks filled with the seeming minutia of the gas mileage of vehicles and cars brought in to be serviced and the various reminders of long paid bills. The flurry of paperwork associated with the later years, of doctor visits and diagnoses.
But still nothing that personal. Nothing to explain why he was who he was.
So you keep digging. Except the digging stops. Because the stuff comes to an end.
And all that remains is nothing.
Because its just stuff. It tells us what a person does but not who they are. It’s then when it hits you.
I will only know so much about my grandpa. He chose to gather just a certain amount of stuff to leave behind, deciding he wanted to be forgotten more quickly. And no matter how much is collected, he, just as I one day, will be lost.
We can’t help though but continue our collections. That’s what life is.
The hope to have another day in which to gather.