So the patriarch dies. And now what? The Grandmother is left behind, heart broken. The children and grandchildren try to make sense of if. Of course, it comes with the age, with the ailing body and the it naturally follows the years of illness. But nevertheless it is a deep wound that can’t be healed by ‘that’s life, he was old’.
I have a house full of noise, laughter, childish arguments and semi-eaten pizza. Wine is flowing and there are fireworks for a little boy’s birthday (let’s face it, his dad enjoys it more than everyone else). And the message on the phone suddenly pops up and the words ‘died’, ‘grandad’ and ‘just’ glare at me.
He was my role model. He was my Dad’s dad. When I lost my Dad at the age of 7, he was the one who was his mirror, in my eyes. He could do no wrong. Even if he did, he could do no wrong.
He was grumpy, funny, tough, loving, unforgiving and very, extremely forgiving. You needed to talk to someone, you went to him. You needed someone to beat some sense into you, you were sent to him. He was the One. Grandad. And now he’s no more. Just like that.
And thanks to recent happenings I hadn’t seen him in two years. F***ing Covid.
Granny is distraught. The family is kind of understanding of ‘it had to happen one day’ but also very, very lost.
But soul needs a send off. A proper, weepy, sobbing, appreciating send off. So here I am, typing this as my cheeks are red and swollen with salty tears, as I try to muffle my sobs so that I don’t wake up my step children and step grandchildren sleeping upstairs. Only with dogs for company. With tea of Linden to help me sit with grief.
He loved dogs. As of today I know (and actually, I always knew), that his wishes were ‘no f***ing funeral, just cremate me and bury the ashes under the pear tree with the dogs’. His beloved dogs. He loved them as much as he loved us, his children and grandchildren. I see myself in that. Perhaps I have more of him that I ever realised.
Where will the family meet now? Who will be the centre of loving jokes? Who will have the last word in disputes and who will shout in the background ‘say hi to M and to the dogs!’ when I ring?
When I first left home, I stayed with my grandparents. Times were fraught and I needed to hide. The hid me. They helped and loved. And when I decided to leave the safety of their flat to go and try my luck in England, my bag packed and my friends ready to drive me to the coach that would take me to London, he took me aside and said: ‘This is your chance. Don’t fuck it up.’
I know he approved and was happy for me and my life here.
I miss you and will mourn you until you soul safely reaches The Beach Of Souls, so that you can come back to me and be my guide. xxx