Today I was scheduled to write the first part of the Interactive Fiction tutorial but unfortunately that is going to have to wait until the new year, due to the sad news that my wife’s Grandfather, known to all as Gaga, passed away with morning. And with christmas and new years looming I will likely not have the time to write such a tutorial.
Gaga died the way he had hoped to, comfortable, and without pain. Which I suppose is something a lot of us want. He wasn’t alone. A nurse kept him company while my wife’s Mother and Father rushed to the nursing home. They didn’t make it in time, but he would understand, and he had company in his last moments.
I didn’t know Gaga very well. My wife and I, and now our baby daughter, live 90 miles away near the capital for work (and I am from near where we now live) and I don’t spent much time down the country with my in laws, though they are wonderful people and I love every one of them. My wife visits much more often than I for obvious reasons. And though I didn’t know him well, I have a huge respect for him. He helped to raise my wife and did a damn fine job of doing so. But not knowing him well doesn’t mean I didn’t know him at all. My personal experiences with him have all been unerringly positive. He was a kind and gentle man who will be greatly missed by all who knew him, myself included.
His passing is very sad, and rightly so but I’d like to talk a little about his life, to share a few of the things I know about him. Maybe to give the world a better sense of the man, and maybe a little bit because dealing in the typed word is easier for me that the spoken one.
Gaga was a farmer born, and worked on the family farm in the south of Ireland for much of his life. It was a life that suited him, he was a man with the greenest of green fingers. He could make anything grow anywhere and took a lot of joy from doing so. When the family eventually sold the farm maybe 20 years or so ago and bought the local pub he didn’t stop growing things. He made hanging baskets and window boxes, built his own greenhouse out the back yard and kept on growing flowers and plants to beat the band. He maintained his sisters’ garden, which was more like something you’d see on TV, it had plenty of flowers and trees and all sorts of greenery with a dozen or more bird feeders and houses that were busy all summer.
Earlier in the year he posed in a photo on his 90th birthday with 3 other generations of the family. Gaga, my Mother and Father in law, my wife, and our baby. Smiles all round, it was a great day, a lot of people showed up to share it with him, traveling from all over the country to share the mile stone.
He scared the shit out of me one day, when I wasn’t long going out with my wife. He had a strong country accent and I wasn’t used to it at the time so I had to concentrate pretty hard to get all the words together, I only realised what he was talking about about halfway through. He was telling me about his wife, and how she had died in a car crash. Pretty serious stuff, and I later learned it wasn’t something he would normally talk about which is understandable. I had no idea how to react so I basically agreed with everything he said and tried to sound sympathetic and respectful (which I was, but as previously mentioned I’m not great with the spoken word). I’m grateful he felt I was worthy to share that story with personally the way he did, a kind of approval for the man his granddaughter was later to marry.
He only stopped driving when he was 85. He drove a little Ford Fiesta which he used to visit his kids and grand-kids that where in the locality. He was a very active man, and stubborn, a trait many of his Family have inherited.
He always wanted to have great-grandchildren, and wasn’t overly worried about whether or not they were born in wed-lock. Family was more important than a ring. I’m really glad he got to meet our daughter and her cousin.
Gaga, you will be remembered, sleep well.