Ready for anything: 5 things my grandfather carried

Jase Miller
6 min readNov 10, 2020

My grandfather was a man with a knife. That may bring to mind an image of a fearful man slashing the world around him to protect himself, but that was the opposite of my grandfather. The knife did not define him. His life defined the appropriate use of the knife.

Some people carry weapons because they’re insecure. They feel safer knowing they can wield something dangerous in the world. Whenever my grandfather pulled his knife from his pocket—which was nearly everyday—it was an extension of the man he was, not a cover for a sense of insecurity.

He was a man of great character, and at least when I was growing up, he had nothing to prove. As a veteran he was extremely proud of his country and his family. For me, he was one of those older men who could feed a boy’s soul just by spending time in his presence.

He was a man of deep kindness and compassion (he fed neighborhood squirrels in the winter), but his life had seasons of success and struggle like any of us. His final struggle in his 90’s was with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Seeing him deteriorate between visits was difficult, and I could tell the struggle was unrelenting for him. He was painfully aware that he had entered a battle he could not win.

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Jase Miller

Navigating complexity. 🏉 Poet collaborating for a bold beautiful creative future via leadership, design thinking, UX, and Product Management. ⚡️