We have shared over the time our stories as he works night shift and somehow in those dark hours, you tend to share the emotions of the extremes – the hurt and the joy. This particular chat was about the death of his beloved father, a northeastern European who was sent with his family to Siberia at the age of twelve, no more schooling, no more home, no more familiar. The work of going out to chop trees, the bitter freezing conditions and if the work wasn’t done, there was no food - simple. I don’t need to describe what the conditions were like, and if you don’t know, I suggest you take some time to learn.
His father died a few weeks ago, he knew I was an artist and we had built up somewhat mutual respect over the last few months. He isn’t a friend and yet he isn’t an acquaintance – the in-between I suppose.
He asked if I would sketch his father so he could have a memory of him, a sketch that could be prominent in his home. How do I sketch and pay homage to a man who never smiled yet cried for days when his wife died, a man who saw things we should never see, a man who not ever said “I love you” yet it was understood, a man who escaped Siberian camps at age 20 leaving his family behind, how do I give justice to such a sketch?
By recognising that this man’s determination to never give up, that is now part of my life!
I have been given a gift by being asked and a lesson to not give up. If his father had given up and not escaped, he wouldn’t have had a son who shared his father’s story. We know what will happen to us if we “give up” – the point is we don’t know what will happen if “we keep trying” and how exciting is that – where will our stories of inspiration lead, we can change lives, make a difference and inspire others!