So today I said goodbye to my grandfather. This man has been like a father figure to me, not that I don't have such an amazing family unit and an amazing real father, but Julian (my grandfather) has been like an oricle to many.
I was fortunate enough to live with Joan and Julian for 8 years of my life and got to spend many an evening sitting around the dinning room table discussing everything from politics to poetry, current news to nursing. The two of them (by the way Joan is still very much alive and kicking at 92) have such a knowledge of everything from current affairs to the history of the Britain empire and the world.
Julian was a royal engineer from about 1943/4-1976(ish). He was fortunate enough to see more of the world than most of us will ever do and was also pretty much the last of the English officers to leave so much of the British empire, from Indian to Burma. He loved so much of the world he saw, spending Large parts of his life in India and Singapore. One of the main reasons that I really was interested in going to India to do my yoga training was to head to the areas of India which I had grown up hearing all about....mount Abu, nainital or roorkee. I ensured I did find these places and mount Abu was truely one of the most inspiring places I have ever been, it was stunning, welcoming and beautifully quiet.
This picture shows a present I was given by this amazing man. This was his fathers pocket watch which I have worn on many occasion any time I have found the need to put on a 3 piece suit. I wore this watch today at his funeral and looked at it many times....each time it brought to mind the times I had sat discussing life and its many funny ways and also death and who whether or not the afterlife is real or not!
I have been fortunate enough to have grandparents who view death from the view of agnostics, both sceptical of the afterlife but also with a respect for the church and an open mind to something that can't be certain of.
My life moving into a yoga practice and into the views of life in a different view point really has also opened me to "the afterlife"...Now I'm not sure quite how this works. Part of me does believe that Julian as a soul was an incredibly good and will totally still be around, but also part of me feels that he will be living on. Living on in both me, my brother, my cousin (all 3 of us lived with them) or any of the other 7 grandchildren. His wit and humour, His intelligence and willing to share it and also His smile and welcoming attitude to just about anyone who walked through his front door.
So much of my relaxed, welcoming and inquisitive mindset come from spending so much of my life with Julian and Joan. They are my heroes and my inspiration, they are why have allowed me to be so open to both science and faith. They have been two of the most encouraging people to this career that I am pursuing, even though they may not have fully understood quite what and where I am coming from.
Time comes and goes, family come and go. But in our hearts, really, time and family can stay forever. We don't have to find attachment to the physical person but what they are/were and what the teach/taught us can be with us forever and beyond.
Julian, I will forever miss you and the encouraging nature of your being but I will also take your life's lessons forward into the rest of my life. I finish this post with a little ditty (as he called them...most others would say a poem) written by the man himself. I was sitting with him looking out over the valley from the garden at broome hill with Julian in silence enjoying the sunset, where I spent so much of my life growing up and as an adult living with them, when a pheasant broke the silence and he started forming this poem. It sums up the beautiful spot in which we lived and the amazing Suffolk countryside that we as a family love and treasure.
The golden orb which was the sun
dropped slowly behind the trees
and as I sat in the garden
i felt the evening breeze
on my face and hands
There was silence
no sound of voice, no noise
'twas that the world was poised
between coming and going
Then suddenly the roosting pheasants called
the silence shattered and i, with great reluctance,
returned to an actual world.
But as I listened and waited
inheard the other sounds,
the sounds of the bat and the owl
and was that a scampering rat?
Then I listened but now i looked
and slowly the sky changed
and evening turned to night.
The clouds were gone and slowly the sight
of evening stars appeared.