Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A Hard Goodbye

With an imagination so big and heart so full of love, my grandad could turn anything into an adventure. Whether I was being whisked into Rebecca's world during my night time story or swinging "higher than the tallest tree" on the swing, any time I spent with him was magical... and that was a lot of time.

On the outside, my grandad was a typical man. He loved cars, the pub and was a dedicated lorry driver but it was his youthful soul that made him different to anyone I've ever known. His love for life and make-believe was infectious and something that has moulded me into the person I am today. We all said his calling in life was to work with children. He understood them like no one else and they gravitated towards him because of it.

I thank my grandad for teaching me to live with my imagination wide open, for spending hours inventing new games for us and for always carrying a piece of blue rope in the boot of his car. I thank him for wrapping me up in his coat and taking me for walks at night, for putting an old cushion on the crossbar of his bike and for marking an X on a tree in chalk. I thank him for the endless beautiful memories that I will hold onto forever.

We were told my grandad would start to fade away all those years ago. Yes, his mobility, speech and short-term memory did all suffer and seize up but his soul burned brightly until the very end. My grandad knew who we all were. He could still hear us and I can only hope he knew how much we all loved him.

I raced down the same roads my grandad had taken me along as a little girl on my gran's old bike when I got the phone call on Friday. My gran and grandad's house has always been a place of family, love and laughter. So many of my memories have been made there and it's still the first place I visit when I go home.

That day, their home was full but incomplete. My grandad's light was dimming, he was tired and his story was on the last page. When my grandad took his final breath he didn't do it alone. A man like my grandad will never be alone and anyone who knew him well will never be without him either.

Losing my grandad has broken my heart and I haven't quite come to terms with life without him yet. One thing I do know, though, is that his essence and spirit will never die but will continue to live on through the characters, stories and memories he created for me and I was so lucky to have been blessed with.


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