A couple of years ago I lost my grandfather very suddenly, that is a story on its own and maybe one day I will write about it. Anyway, this was the closest encounter with ‘death’ I have ever experienced. I called him Nana and he was a very special man. Until this day, I truly believe that my love for writing comes from him because he was a writer too, not professionally, but boy did he want to be published. Another thing we both
had have in common.
Around 12 years ago, Nana suffered with a stroke and we truly thought we were going to lose him. I had never seen him look so weak and frail but by God’s grace, family support and a great medical team, he pulled through. His speech and movement were affected forever. He could no longer walk independently or write coherently and he slurred his words when he spoke making it hard to understand what he was saying. What he couldn’t communicate verbally, he would write down and it was always profoundly poetic…
“Before going on further, I would like to stop a bit – with a bow of respect- expressing my gratefulness for the remarkable contribution women have made in the world. To start with, for my own health care to my wife and daughters during my severe stroke illness.”
I didn’t know how long he would survive like this. But God rest his soul, for 12 years he shattered all expectations. Despite his disability, he would wake up every morning and exercise willingly, he took his personal hygiene very seriously, he followed world affairs diligently and he wrote everyday.
Initially, because he lost stability in his hands, he would request family members to scribe for him. Proud, he then attempted to physically write himself though none of it would be legible. After this, he used an old typewriter before eventually settling for a stupidly dated computer where he would type until he would get told off by Grandma for staying up late!
Watching him do this ALWAYS fascinated me, I would think to myself what could he possibly be writing? I got my answer several days after he passed away. It was a eureka moment where I decided to obtain all his documents and put them together and maybe even publish them (somehow) for him one day. It was a good idea in theory but a few months down the line, the enormity of the task dawned on me.
Here I was, one flustered little being, trying to tackle 12 years worth of writing a lone. I was looking at hundreds of handwritten notebooks and countless pages of endless Microsoft Word documents. The quantity of the writing was overwhelming but nothing in comparison to the quality. The majority of what Nana wrote about was politics and world affairs, like really relevant talk, none of which I understood or (and please don’t dismiss me as some blondie here) had much interest in. My knowledge on politics is limited so when reading Nana’s material, I focused on the memoir aspect more than anything else.
Like I say, it was a daunting task and between full time work and life in general I had less time to dedicate to these precious documents. I have been thinking about them a lot lately though and I feel that, in not be able to put much of it together after 3 years of Nana’s passing, I let him down.
IF you are still wondering why it has been a difficult task. Well, clued up on everything though he was, computers were a new concept for Nana and so due to his lack of expertise on Microsoft Word most of what he wrote didn’t save properly, leaving enormous gaps in his work, a lot of which was not in chronological order to begin with. He struggled so much- he even mentions it in one document where he thanked one of his daughters for helping him with-
“…the old computer I was using as a typewriter and had been almost illiterate at.”
To conclude, I think Nana wrote beautifully and I would like to utilise this platform to display and share some of his (non politics!) words on here. Maybe do a little segment called ‘Nana Speaks’ or something. I think he would have liked that. He was a very grateful person by nature. When writing his acknowledgements for what he believed would be a published book on day- he said;
“Finally, I wish to hugely thank with sincere appreciation all concerned who had encouraged me to write – assuming I was capable of using a pen or pencil for this. I shall definitely do so in the particular interest of peace and harmony as much as I can in my life time. I agree with that dream of nothing being better in saving human life than going forward to unify people. In my opinion, it is what the teachings of all religions seem to be aiming for. Anything to the contrary would be un-understandable. Overall, having taken that advice seriously, I have already earmarked writing what is good, as I think in my way, a few books already. So help me God in what has to be the contribution of all.”
Thank you for reading and please watch this space for more Nana Speaks. The quotes included in this posts, if it wasn’t already obvious, come from his writings.