The Road

My Mom came up for a visit this past weekend.  She is also artistically oriented, so whenever we’re together we seem to manage to talk about art and end up doing something creative.  However, the goings on in our home, and the demands associated with those goings on – five children, two of those being 9 month old twins – dictate the amount of time available for such artistic endeavors.  And so it was about 10 o’clock on Saturday evening when we finally settled in our studio (the dining room table).

“What are you gonna do?”, Mom asked.

“I’m not sure”, I replied.

“Me either”, she said, and we both looked at our materials for a while.

Thumbing through the camera roll on my cell phone, I came across this photo I took on the way home one afternoon.  I liked the sky, which is why I took the photo in the first place.

I exclaimed, “Found it!  I’m gonna paint this.”

Mom thumbed through her phone and found her inspiration as well… her father, who passed away last April.  She misses him immensely.  Grandpa was always there for us.  He came over and fixed the plumbing, mowed the grass, and other, innumerable around-the-house kinds of things.  He helped us financially when Mom, struggling to provide for two boys alone on one income, couldn’t quite make ends meet.  He took care of us.

He was living in an assisted living facility in Jacksonville when he died, surrounded by his family.  Mom went to see him every day without fail.  It was her turn to take care of him.  She took care of him like I would want to be taken care of by my children when I’m old and can’t take care of myself.  She was a saint and an angel for him, and I admire and respect her greatly for that.  After my brother died, Grandpa was all the family she had left in Jacksonville (I am in Atlanta, and her sister is in Birmingham), so you can imagine how much it must have hurt to lose him, even though he lived a full life of 96 years.  She sure did love her Daddy.

I should have taken a photo of the portrait she drew.  She wasn’t happy with it.  I mentioned that I was rarely ever happy with anything I’ve ever done (artistically speaking, of course), and that she shouldn’t beat herself up about it.  Heck, if a perfect representation is what’s needed, then why not simply look at the photo?  Right?  Anyway, since I don’t have a photo of the drawing, I’ll substitute with a photo.  Here’s Grandpa:

Grandpa - Jacksonville, Fl 2011

Grandpa – Jacksonville, Fl 2011

I miss him, too.  The older I get, the more people around me pass away, and the more I’m reminded of my own mortality.  It’s a gentle reminder, you know.  Live… live well.  And LOVE!  I am blessed to be surrounded by family, and believe me, these lessons aren’t lost on me in the least.

Oh, so here’s what I painted:

Road Scene:  Watercolor on 4"x6" paper

Road Scene: Watercolor on 4″x6″ paper

Funny, now that I look back on it.  The road could represent life.  This could be a snapshot of where I currently am on this particular road I’m traveling.  I can just see what’s ahead until it curves off.  What lies beyond, I cannot know.  I can only know that I am on a road, and moving forward.  Huh.  How ’bout that?

4 thoughts on “The Road

  1. Wanda Carter Tehan

    I enjoyed every word of this Michael. I would have loved to have seen Maris’ painting. Having known and worked with your precious Grandparents, I personally know every word to be true and am not surprised to hear of her devotion to him in his declining years. He is in a wonderful place now and he will be one that I look up when I am able to enter that awesome place we call Heaven. Brother Heinzman is not really gone for he truly lives on in you.

  2. msayers Post author

    Hey, Wanda! Amen! And he does, indeed, live on in me. And our boys often talk about Papa, even though their interactions were brief. Buy you know that Grandpa wasn’t a man that left small impressions of people. I hope my boys remember him always as well. Thanks for the comment, Wanda. Sorry it took so long to respond.


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