This brings me to the second man in my life, he was the light of my life for a very long time whether he wanted to or not. My granddad the father of my mother…was a strong and silent type. He was spiritual but not in a conformed way.He altered his religion to my marry grandmother, they married rather late in life and became a Rome catholic from being a protestant. The the sober and austere freedom of the protestants was what he truly oozed. He was somehow majestic and a man of few words. You always knew when he didn’t like something. On the other hand when he did like something no words were used and only a critical small smile or rather, half a smirk were enough for the ones who knew him closely, to know that he approved and liked something or even better loved someone but didn’t want to acknowledge the fact in your presence.
He was a thorn in my grandma’s’ public image eye and never cared much for convention from society & family alike. He was a conscientious man who needed his space and in retrospect he must have been in a contemplative meditative state a lot of the times as he hated being disturbed. He knew about moon cycles and farming, about stars and weather, the state of the vegetables he was growing, cooking, cleaning, protection of the poor, the less fortunate and sick. He never spoke about it but simply lived it. Many people in the village didn’t like him much but appreciated what he did for everyone nonetheless. Really you couldn’t find a good word for his clothes, his manners, his none distinct under his breath swear words that he always seem to utter against oppressors, the people who did wrong, people who had done things solely for their own benefit and therefore harming others. But at the same time he was a force of good to reckon with just with a foul mouth and a very direct way of communicating his anger.
But somehow rather to me he was this clear bright light of my life, which loved me and cherished me. I wasn’t ever afraid of him like many of my other nephews and nieces were or whom found him hard to digest. I simply adored him, he was my hero of a lifetime, before I met Buddhism, and my loving granddad after my guru became the first man in my life. He was, and it’s hard to explain what my grandfather was to me… always present, always there for me. He loved my open smile and face and he spoiled me rotten with attention. I spend a lot of time with my grandparents as my mum needed their help on weekends when she had to work – she was a head nurse in a big psychiatric ward – and so I spend much of my time on weekends an holidays in and around their house. My granddad could always be found in the garden from morning to evening, he was always doing something related to his garden, whether it was is planting, harvesting, shuffling weeds, watering plucking or seeing it all grow.
There was always something to do, the garden was his pride and he didn’t like anyone’s involvement, but I couldn’t be kept away even though he tried vey hard. I would simply pluck and eat all his fruit and rummage through the perfect rows here and there crushing some very young spinach or other. when I was about 5 or 6 years I loved being in his green house, behind the glass with the smell of damp earth and grape vines, I could only open the sliding doors but couldn’t close them to my grandfathers great dismay. He on occasion put my on a plank atop a concrete pole telling me not to move otherwise I’d loose my balance and fall so I would sit still, but my Arabic nature always made me talk with the use of my hands and feet and never sat still. So many a time I fell of the pole until I learned to sit still, observe him, and ask him annoying questions till he stopped answering tem and send me of to help my grandmother, who could always use a hand. Or he found my in his Holy Mary grotto, which he build himself, but was actually strictly forbidden as there were candles burning in there and he was very afraid I would hurt myself. But I loved the calm of this place and the holy energy it had. He started and finished his day there and I therefore considered it mine as well.
I believe I was “a pest he loved best” and he would do anything for me. When I grew older I connected more and more with my grandmother over cooking and backing things, which I loved, and I became more vocal about what I liked about what he said or not. He drove my grandma crazy and I didn’t always agree so I told my mind about his misgivings, which somehow from me he accepted and also I cooled down many a fight between those two. Again I can’t explain what my grandfather did for me but I believe I learned much from his sense of righteousness and his way of loving me and I think he was truly mystical and spiritual which was a thing that connected us strongly though I can only say that later in life.
He remained a strong force in my life but as I met my guru when I was thirteen – coincidentally in the place where my grandparent lived – his influence grew less and less and as I grew older and left Holland at the age of eighteen. My granddad has and will always be the man who loved me first, and foremost, unconditionally even though I met many men who’s intentions weren’t always clear, I was sure there were these very honest and good men like my granddad. A fact which helped me to recognise a good and strong-willed man like him. My granddad was a good reference point comparing men applying for the role of father, lover, companion. My husband today is actually much like him in many ways. which I was only able to recognise having known my granddad so closely.
Tell me what you think so far
Much love – Radia, The unusual Yogini
PS: So here the outline of the second part. these things I publish are more an outline of a part than a chapter because i understood that i need to really deepen the event and relationships.