Many people talk of having stepparents, but I have rarely heard them speak of step-grandparents. But that's how I would categorize it. His name was Jim, and he basically replaced my grandmother's original husband, the biological father of my mother, and thus, my biological grandfather. Nevertheless, Jim was a very unique person in my life, and the life of those around him.
Not only did he stay with and help support my grandmother and her house and property throughout his life, he also treated me very kindly, and he didn't have to. We didn't really have any contact in the late years, as I had gotten married and moved out of State, but when I was a teenager, Jim financially supported me in a great many ways, along with my grandmother.
Had it not been for him, I would have probably been unable to remain enrolled in my martial arts school, which was a big achievement and motivator in my early days. I can also say with absolute certainty that I never went hungry a day in my life while I was at my grandmother's house. Jim would always make sure I was fed, and so would she.
They were also very calm-minded people. They considered themselves to be the utmost civilized. They would not go to parties or do any kind of music or dance. They did not drink hard liquor, beer, or act up in any way. They would not even let their hair, nor mine, become "inappropriate" lengths. So they were modest, greatly sophisticated they were.
Last spring, Jim died at the age of 74, after a long struggle with deteriorating health and eventually a stroke that resulted in cardiac arrest, leaving my grandmother, who is still alive, to live alone except for the regular visits from my mother. Shortly after his death, I had a dream about Jim that I've never had before or since. He was here in Illinois, in my living room, taking me by the hands, and dancing and smiling. To dream about him for the first time, and seeing him act in a way that he never would have in his previous life, made me realize that he had chosen to deliver a message to me. Wherever he is, I think he's in a much better place.
His death was by no means a blow to me, in the sense that he was someone essential to my life today. I mean, I will certainly always remember and appreciate him, but he also wasn't attached to me. Yet, he had always lived a rather isolated life with no real success, and his passing made me feel sorry for him. But for some reason, he decided to tell me that he was okay, perhaps because he saw me as a son he never had. Or possibly because he knew I'd tell everyone back home; maybe a bit of both.
Every day and night of your life, don't close your eyes or notice off to the signs and omens that the Gods and other people can send. They are everywhere, and if you know them, can give you immeasurable peace.
In the Goodness of the Gods,
I'll see you at the next Herm down the road,