Today I remember my grandfather Alexander Victor, whose 115th birthday it would have been. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.
Had he lived to see it, Pop would initially have been profoundly discombobulated at the thought of my becoming Catholic, since he regarded Catholicism as equivalent to treason. But since he always wanted what was best for me, he would have wrapped his head around it and in the process undergone a change of mind.
Together with his wife, he brought me up. His eyes were brilliant blue, bluer than any others I’ve ever seen. While he had fond memories of childhood holidays in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, his favourite place was Dartmoor, where he used to go for long walks. We loved each other deeply. He was deaf, and because in those days hearing aids weren’t that good, plus he didn’t like wearing one, we didn’t speak much, and never more than a few words. But our rapport meant that the impossibility of verbal converse promoted a deeper form of communication, one whose roots in silence were as deep as the blue of his eyes and whose tokens were the countless glances of solicitude we exchanged during the course of a day and the kiss he gave me every night before he went to bed while I lay pretending to be asleep.