Death, Easter and My Grandfather – A Collection Of Random Thoughts That Fit Together Perfectly

By Adeyinka Shittu

My grandfather passed on Good Friday last year but the pain of the loss still feels fresh, like today’s coffee.

*insert picture of steaming coffee*

I hate to say it but I miss my grandfather. (Mum was right. When someone you love dies, you don’t realize how much you miss them until time has passed.) I miss his baritone laughter and his screaming at 5 o’clock.

‘Yinka, my laziest grandchild, Get out of bed!’

Because he used to wake me up every day at 5am, whether I like it or not, at that time every day, my eyelids fling open and his voice rings in my head…

Get out of bed, change the world.

Maybe that’s what God said to Jesus that made him get out of the tomb. Maybe that’s all you need to do, get out of bed and change the world, not follow some 12 steps or 7 keys to becoming a better you. Who knows?

***

We become doctored memories and enlarged photographs when we die. In the mind of those we leave behind, we morph from being brothers and acquaintances to being saints and angels. I’ve found this to be true of a lot of people but me. You see, no matter how much I ‘cute-ify’ the memory of my grandfather, I cannot lie to myself (or anyone for that matter) about him. MO was not all butterflies and fluffiness.

*insert picture of butterfly*

MO used to annoy me with his perfectionism. In his wardrobe, clothes were arranged by color while shoes were arranged by use. Rarely worn shoes had to be placed at the bottom of the rack and black shoes had to be arranged together.

Imagine getting home at 10pm and there’s no power supply but you can’t go straight to bed because you have to fold your already dirty clothes and put them in the pile with clothes of the same color so you don’t get moth-flogged by your parents. How would that feel? (whatever your answer, that’s how I felt living with MO.)

 Although growing up under such ‘inhumane’ conditions was good for me (for one, I learnt orderliness), I don’t quite agree with grandfather and the translation of the bible that says ‘be perfect because God is perfect’.

You see, perfection is painful and unnecessary. Besides,beautiful things like sunsets and siblings are seldom perfect. 

***

For every weakness we have, there’s a strength that covers it up. My grandfather’s weakness was perfection but his strength was teaching. He loved to give me (unrequested and unneeded) lessons in history and (on a lot of occasions) sex. (You have no idea how much I know about sex because of MO.)

 One of the things he taught me was gardening. In fact, the potted plants in my room come from his garden.

 I remember the day he and I planted the orange trees that line walls of his house. Earlier that morning, I had asked to be allowed to go see a movie with friends but my sadist grandfather said no. (He’s no sadist but I felt he was that day.) Because of my displeasure, I complained throughout.

“No matter how much you grumble, you’re not leaving here until the seeds are safely in the ground.” He sowed the seeds, I complained, and then my dad intervened.
I went out to see my movie.

One year later, the trees are flourishing and ready to start fruiting. (I think they are a hybrid variety that fruits in two years instead of the usual four). Mind you, the movie I saw that same day the seeds were sown, I can’t remember the title.

You see, some things are too transient to be worth anything.

The good you do and the smiles you cause will live longer than you so if you really want to live long, don’t live for yourself.

When you eat a watermelon, don’t complain about it being too seedy. Instead, plant the seeds and watch as terrible becomes edible as seed transforms to fruit.

You can choose to complain that bitter-leaf is bitter or you can choose to make sweet ora soup out of it. You can complain about the bad or grumble about the terrible or you can say…

whether things fall apart

or they fall into place,

every moment I’m alive

is underserved like grace.

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