My grand daughter was born 5 weeks before my father died on January 29th, 2010. He was eighty-four. He never saw her. If he passes on anything on to her it will not just be through a genetic heredity and not just through the process of our remembering. Yes we will convey to her our love for him and the happiness that is associated with this creative, funny, albeit fairly private man. We will go on enjoying his impressions which he brought to life in his sculptures and paintings. We will reminisce about how uniquely he expressed himself even when reluctantly he was drawn into social conversation or compelled upon to put words to paper. When we sit down together as a family, there will be happy stories and memories, triggered perhaps by a photo or some collective experience, that will continue to help solidify our deep affection for him.
I suppose Fiona will wonder about him. She will no doubt wish she could have got to know him. Maybe it will take the form of simply imagining holding his hands and going for a walk with him, or being carried on his shoulders. Might he have had some wise thing to reveal to her about life? Perhaps she will think about who she is, and wonder if he was like her in any way. When she picks up a paint brush or plays in the sand box and starts to make things with her hands, will she recognize that same inherent artistic skill. She may perhaps sense some 'provision', a kind of environment of encouragement (which has trickled down from him through our family) to trust the out-workings of her imagination.
I look at her hands and see beauty there. I take them in my rugged hands and am amazed by her grasp. Her hands, like my fathers, may never build walls of stone, but I know they will grasp beauty. I sense the immense potential contained therein, a potential to inspire others and to be touched by that same inspiration which is extended to her across the gulf of discontinuity and silence.