My Grandfather, Len Turner, died just after 11:00 on Saturday night. It has been a long 14 months and it was a longer 4 days for those of us who sat by his bedside as he struggled for each breath. His final moments were peaceful and we all feel a huge sense of relief that he has finally found freedom after being a prisoner in a body that no longer served his will.
He loved life so much. He loved this beautiful earth and didn't want to miss a minute of what might happen next. His love for his family, for my grandmother, for my mother, for me and my brother was a blessing and privilege to witness and receive.
His stories, his humour, his smiles, his ingenuity, and his gentle strength have been a daily part of my life for 40 years. He was a blacksmith's apprentice, a welder, a builder of planes, a fireman, a maker of jewelery, an artisan, a handyman, a gardener, a trickser, a farmer, a fisherman, a naturalist, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather.
I have been thinking a lot over the past few days about all of the things that i learned from him. He taught me to fish. He tried to teach me to fight (but i was a hopeless non-violence practitioner, even at ten.) He taught me how to light a campfire--my status as a fire goddess is largely due to his example. But of all the lessons that i learned from him, two stand out as most important.
I learned from him the belief that what you can imagine you can create. He could coax beauty and usefulness from anything--bits of wood and string, scraps of metal, discarded perspex-- with a bit of glue and paint, or some whittling, under his hands they became a mobile of airy delight, an eternal rose, an exotic parrot. Thanks to him i can see beauty and possibility everywhere.
He also gave me the gift of companionable silence. You can't fish and chatter. You can't see a deer or a purple finch or a drowsy snake if you're always filling the silent spaces. Those daily adventures in the woods, and wandering along streams and beaches--quiet. Listening together for the mystery in the spaces of life.
I love you Gramps. And i can't quite yet absorb that you're gone.