My Grandfather was one of my biggest fans, and a great influence on my life. I promised him I would be brave and strong, and live my life in the way that he would have liked me to. I promised I would be kind to people, to show respect and dignity, and above all, live my life like there was no tomorrow.
My beloved Grandfather passed away on Sunday morning. I am glad to have known him, and that he is at peace and not in pain. I don’t want to tell you about it, there are some things that are private to me and my family. Above all, I need some time to come to terms with a world with a hole in it.
I know how much he loved to read, and I want to share a letter I wrote when he was first diagnosed, not three months ago. I did get the courage to give it to him, and for that I will be forever grateful. He died knowing how important he was to the little girl that in the blink of his eye became the woman I am today.
Sleep tight Granddad. xx
How do you begin to tell someone the impact they have on your life and how much you love them and will miss them when they are gone? How do you convey the magnitude of their meaning and he depth of your gratitude?
It’s hard to say, but I know that given the chance I would want to, and I would always choose the opportunity to say thank you, and I love you, and I miss you already, and goodbye.
They say the first man a girl loves is her Daddy, but my affections were torn from the start. I adored my Dad but there was a special place reserved from my Grandgrad – a space that to this day is stuffed full of admiration. I could see my Granddad in me; stubborn and blunt with a bit more stubborn thrown in for good measure.
As I grew I rallied against him and we had a tough few years where we always argued – him throwing grenades into the conversation designed to rile a hot headed 15 year old. I argued and just made myself look stupid.
And then it was as if the grouchy caterpillar emerged from her chrysalis and finally I appreciated this man for what he was; sometimes a sage sounding board, sometimes a maker or mischief, but always the protector of my heart and my safety.
I’ve had the fortune to be blessed with my Granddad for my 27 years and the idea of a world without him is something I can’t bear to consider. My heart twists when I think of a wedding day that he might not attend, children that may never know how I learnt to tell when he was making up a story, and Christmases where he doesn’t shake his presents, throw the wrapping paper over his shoulder and exclaim “Super! Thanks Flower!” when he opens his gifts, regardless of what they are.
My Granddad is as ingrained in my life as remembering my keys in the morning. If something breaks, I ask him. If a recipe doesn’t work, I go to him for advice. “I’ll ask Granddad” is a phrase that pops into my head as easily as I remember my name, and try as I might I can’t envisage the thought of a future without the man who has shaped my past.
Summers were spent holidaying in Europe, sampling different cuisines and casting our eyes over the terrains of different countries. Teenage slumbers were woken by him singing “parumpa pump pum” outside bedroom doors. Christmas morning peace punctuated by German children singing Christmas carols, and none of us four girls wanted car rides with him for fear of being subjected to Radio Four, or worse, The Archers.
So how do you put into words how much you love a person, and given the chance how do you say thank you for everything they have done?
How do I begin to tell you I am stronger for the support you have given me and that I’m richer for the love and security you have provided? I can’t fathom ever having to watch you disappear, to vanish from my life like you are walking away into the horizon until you are so small that I can’t make you out anymore? But that’s mortality, isn’t it?
The truth is, I’m not sure I will ever be able to.
I’m the luckiest girl in the world for having known and being loved by such a man, not only as a child when a girl loves her Granddad, but as a woman who adores him for the profound effect he has had on her life.
I might be selfish; a lot of people lose their grandparents young and I am lucky, but the truth is I AM selfish, because I don’t want to build a life where you aren’t part of the foundations.
Love might be a four letter word, but it’s also a rich tapestry of dreams and needs, filled with the colours of your past and the outlines of your future.
And Granddad, you have coloured in a lot of the hard parts for me, and ill never forget that. I hope you are here for years to come, passing me the crayons.
I love you.