Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Hope I Find What I'm Lookin' For, Maybe I Should Drink Just A Little More

   It's never easy to face the reality of death. We all know that we will someday die, as will everyone we've ever known and loved. But this knowledge doesn't make it any easier one us when a loved one, whether family member or friend, passes away. It's never a pleasant feeling, regardless of how close you may or may not have been with said loved one.

   I found out last night that my great uncle had lost his battle to cancer. We had all known for some time that it was a matter of when, not if. He was diagnosed as terminal, and not given long to live. As I touched on before in THIS POST.  I suppose if I had emotionally invested myself more at the time, rather than trying to block it out, I might have accepted it by now. However, I chose not to face the ugly reality, and rather to just focus on my own shit.

   I was never particularly close with my great uncle, but he was one of those people who could turn a tense moment at a family gathering into a big joke. Or turn the young kids who were too shy to play with the others into the ones having the most fun. He was the one person at gatherings of my father's side of the family who always maintained a sunny disposition, and never openly got angry in front of the kids.
He was the one relative who could always pull off the "happily surprised" look when you ran into him in public. I didn't know him all too well, but I never heard him say a negative thing about anyone.

   I think this all might be why his passing is hitting me so hard despite the wide gap between he and I in regards to personal relationships. Every family needs someone like this, some families are fortunate enough to have more than one person to fill this role. My father's side of the family is greatly lacking in good people.

   My grandfather is the only other person on that side to fill this role. He is a great beast of a man, but you can see in his eyes that he knows he is not long for this world. He is one of those men that the tales of the "good old days" are all about. This is a man who is stronger in his advanced age, than most of our generation, and even our parent's generation, is likely to ever be. However, with recent health issues, even this great, powerful man has had to face his mortality. What hope do mere mortals such as us possibly have?

   And this isn't some mis-remembering of my childhood with someone who was much stronger than me simply because I was small and weak. This past spring I went quadding with my grandpa, and got the quad that I was on stuck in some mud. He tied a rope around the cargo rack and pulled the quad out by hand. That's something you simply don't see from someone with common strength.

   I hope that my grandfather lives to see me finish university, I hope that one day I can show him that while I'll never be strong like he is, I am strong in my own way. And I hope that one day I am worthy of his pride.

   He has recently given me his old guitar, the first electric guitar that he ever owned. It's a 1954 Harmony hollow body electric guitar, and it's beautiful. It's badly worn and in fairly rough shape. The pickups require constant adjustment, the body is scratched, peeling, and cracked, but it's the best guitar I'll ever see, in person or in pictures. This is the guitar that my grandpa used to lug to dance halls in the 60s and 70s to play with his friends, for his friends. There's a spot on the back of the body where the finish is completely worn thru, I asked him what from. His reply "My arms are so long that I've always slung my guitar low, before it was cool to do... that's from my belt buckle." How cool is that? Back when Rock was still closer to Blues than anything else, big belt buckles were in style, and smoking was allowed in bars, this guitar got played so passionately, and so often, that it retained every bit of its heyday. The fret inlays still smell faintly of tobacco, and it's missing 2 of its original 4 knobs.

   When the day comes that my grandfather is no longer with us, I will jam with him one last time, and his old guitar will be all that remains of him.

   Sorry for getting way off my original topic....

-Onward and Upward!


  1. Sorry for your loss. Lung cancer is a terrible way to go. Hope it wasn't prolonged?
    Though I never met him, I'm sure he would be glad that you are thinking about him.

  2. Thank you Bruce. It wasn't very long, about 6 months.