Saturday, 20 September 2014

The saddest day

It has been a hugely sad few weeks in our family.

On September 1st, out of the blue, my beloved Grandad passed away.

He was 83 years old, and as fit as a fiddle. Although he'd had triple bypass heart surgery thirty years ago, he was a man still living his life to the full, including playing golf three times a week with his friends.

In fact, he died on the golf course, after having a massive heart attack that killed him instantly.  I take comfort that he didn't suffer.

We are all still coming to terms with his loss, and as a very close-knit family, both geographically and emotionally, we all keep expecting him to walk through the door with his customary 'Cooo-eee!'

My grandad could be difficult at times, but essentially, he was a man who was devoted to his family. He was the man who cooked and carved the turkey each Christmas, who loved to have his three children and six grandchildren around him, and who relished telling stories from his childhood in London during WWII.  He could be abrupt and insensitive but he was also capable of such tenderness.

I will forever remember when, the day after leaving hospital, I showed him his first great-grandchild, our first son.  Often, older men are not all that interested in babies, and I expected Grandad to peer into the Moses basket politely and congratulate us. 

But he surprised me.  Although, as a brand new mother, tired and anxious, I was worried about waking my baby, Grandad uncovered the First Boy's blankets and insisted on cradling him. As our newborn slept in his arms, he took his tiny feet in his hands and gently peeled off my baby's baggy socks.  Looking down at him, he delicately caressed his perfect little feet and marvelled at his ten baby toes.  That moment is how I will always remember my dear Grandad.

I am sure he would have wanted to hold the tiny feet of my Second Boy in the same way but he tragically left us too soon to meet him.

Dear Grandad. You are gone but not forgotten.

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