Tuesday, June 7, 2011


My great-grandfather was over ninety years old when he died. He had bowed legs and could not walk without a stick, and even then he would take over an hour to walk a kilometre. He had a passion for farming. Everything in his life revolved around farming and the seasons. Illness couldn't keep him away from his farm when there was something to be done. He used to walk the two kilometres to the farm and back on his bowed legs everyday.

I wasn't there when he died, so I only have my mother's account to go by. He broke his leg when he tripped and fell. There was no one to take care of him in the village, so after a few days his son and daughters decided to take him to the city. When he realised that he probably wouldn't be allowed to come back, he fought the decision. He became delirious, he wanted to go to his farm on his broken leg. They tied him to his bed to stop him from getting out of it, he cried and fought against the bonds for a day, then he stopped: he had lost his spirit, he became almost catatonic. He died a few days later. My mother often says that it was his passion for farming that made him will his body to function the last few years. And when he realised that he couldn't any more, there wasn't anything left to keep him here. I do not know how true my mother's account is medically, but I always thought that it was a good story to remember him by.

In my search for passion, and the depression that results from the lack of it, the memory of my grandfather often gives me hope: that for now, a passion to find passion as strong as my grandfather's is enough.

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