This is a post I never wanted to write and I never wanted to become a reality. I’d be lying if I said this has been easy to write about Grandad, it’s been so incredibly hard but we all cope in our own way and writing things down helps me.
It’s currently 23 days since you passed. 23 days since you left this shitty world and grew your wings. I don’t think it’s fully sunk in yet but I know it’s real and man, it hurts. It hurts so bad. This post, I debated about writing but I think it might help my grieving process. I’m sorry Grandad for all the word vomit induced stuff I’m going to say. But, the thing is – I’m not even so sure I quite know what to say?
For so many years, it’s been a constant rollercoaster. Kayne and I always joked and called you Boomerang Harry. Every time we thought ‘This is it, this is the end’ you’d spring back like a boomerang and be ok again (well, as ok as can be). I remember the amount of times I was called a liar because even though we were told ‘prepare yourselves’ – you pulled through because you weren’t ready to go. So many times, we were told to prepare ourselves and yet, no matter how prepared we thought we were, nothing could prepare me for the night you passed.
It was incredibly overwhelming at your house that night, most of the family were sat around your bedside. Your favourite music was playing and I know you could hear us all talking. It felt so surreal that this was it. The day we all didn’t want to happen was upon us within a flash.
I know that you were tired and ready to go.
You’d been fighting everything for so long, constantly defying the odds. It couldn’t have been easy to do. We all thought you were waiting for something but your body just couldn’t handle it anymore. I secretly hoped you were holding on to meet your Great Grandson. You were tired and that’s ok Grandad. You did so well to make it to 88. Slowly, we all started saying our goodbyes as we headed back to our homes for the evening, thinking we’d get at least one more night or day with you. But nevertheless, we said our goodbyes – just incase that night was the night.
I was one of the last people to see you alive.
Kayne drove back from Liverpool to say his goodbyes too. He was worried he wouldn’t make it back before you went but he did and I’m glad he made it. I know you could hear him talking to you and I know how much you love him. He loves you too. You meant a lot to him, you’d always call him Lofty and we’re not sure why but the nickname stuck. The relationship you both had was lovely and you saw him as a grandson. That meant the world to both of us that you accepted him the way you did.
One of the only things I remember clearly from that night is me stroking your hair (if you weren’t poorly, you would’ve lost your rag at me for ruining your hair. You were always so particular about your hair and it was always so perfectly maintained). I can remember me telling you that it’s ok to go if you have to, that I love you and I asked you to look out for our son and protect him. I know you will. Everything after that, it’s a blur. I can barely remember the drive home and the frantic drive back to your house within 20 minutes of me leaving. Kayne breaking the news to me, I just remember crumbling. It’s all a blur.
I just wish that Mum and Dad were there when you died, I blame myself for that.
They were so concerned in making sure I got home safe (so they followed me driving home) and they were just three minutes away from getting back to you. Three minutes. Then they got that phone call. The call we all dread. Mum and Dad said I shouldn’t blame myself for anything but I do. It was one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind. They should have been there. They should have been with you and Grandma. I’m sorry they weren’t with you Grandad.
When I came back to yours and Grandma’s home that night alongside every one else, I came straight to you. You were still warm and yet, your chest wasn’t moving anymore but I didn’t care. I didn’t care that I was standing over a dead body. Your body. I just wanted to see you one more time before the funeral directors came to take you away. I was stroking your cheek and kissing your forehead and all I wanted was for you to shout that you hadn’t really died. That you were pretending and then burst into one of your go-to song choices.
My biggest regret, I think, in everything is that you didn’t see me get married or have a child.
I know now, that had we not called off the wedding – you would’ve been here for it. You wouldn’t have been well enough to attend but you would’ve been here. That really hurts. Throughout my relationship with Kayne and throughout my life, one of my biggest priorities when getting married was that I wanted you and Grandma to be able to be there or at least alive. I feel like I’ve let you down.
We have so many amazing memories of you and I can’t wait to share them with our son. I struggled to get pregnant for so long and I put it off for years before that. God, I wish I didn’t and I wish I was lucky enough to fall pregnant easily. You would’ve been able to meet. You would’ve held him, smelt him, spoke to him, been able to push your false teeth out and let him try grab them (and maybe even successfully grabbing them and trying to put them in his own mouth, just like I did). They’re memories I’ll never get to have. That our son will never get to have. I think this is one of the things I’m struggling with most. We’ll tell him so many stories of his Great Grandad Harry. He will know everything about you. I won’t let the memory of you fade.
One of my favourite things was when you sung.
It was always so amusing because you would belt out the same two songs (that would make Grandma roll her eyes at) and you would re-enact them. In particular, Give Me The Moonlight. You sang it so much better than the original! Even though you were really poorly, up until about three weeks before your passing, you were still trying to sing When I’m Calling You, just because you knew how much me and Ryan loved to hear you sing it. I think that was the last time I heard your voice clearly.
Another favourite memory is when you claimed Grandma stole your sausages… I still have the recording and you reckoned she took them straight from your mouth. Grandma proceeded to call you a fathead and promised me it didn’t happen. All the while, you were winding her up – you knew exactly what you were doing. And when you would become a conductor every time we sang happy birthday… It was just brilliant. I could honestly write a dissertation length post on just the memories alone. Thank you for giving me so many happy and wonderful times.
You were always such a cheeky chap with a wonderful personality.
Always causing mischief of some kind and winding people up. But, the second it was turned onto you, bloody hell – you did not like that. You’d always shout for Grandma to come rescue you, the exact phrasing ”Oh bloody hell Joan, they’re picking on me. Tell ’em” Even though 9 times out of 10, you started it. You always knew what to say, at the right time. You didn’t say much when it came to emotions/feelings but you always said the right thing when you had to.
The amount of times I used to sit at your house crying over something and you’d hug me, tell me not to worry and that it would be alright.
Whenever I rang you at university to speak to you, you’d always make sure I was ok – mentally, physically and financially. It meant a lot to me to know that if it got that bad, that you’d have my back. You always had my back and you were always there for me. I remember crying on the phone to you and Grandma over my dissertation. You told me not to worry, it’s just a piece of paper but that you knew I could do it because you believed in me. My own little cheerleader. I’m not sure I ever said thank you enough.
When I lived at home, we were just 5 doors apart. Ryan and I were forever at yours. I’m so glad we lived so close because we could see you both as much as we did throughout our lives. I have so many fond memories of coming to your house after school, everything.
Seeing you in the funeral home was so incredibly hard.
I wanted to see you, I didn’t want my last visual memory of you to be the night you died, I wanted to see you at peace. You looked so peaceful Grandad, in your flat cap and cardigan. It looked like you were trying not to smile. I saw you twice at the funeral home. The first time was horrible, I couldn’t go near you and I felt so bad for that and didn’t want to leave it that way. The second time, I stroked your face and had a couple minutes alone with you and that is where I had my own private little goodbye. It felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when I left.
You would have been chuffed to bits with your send off.
It was everything you wanted it to be. The weather was beautiful, the horse and carriage was perfect. Albeit, the horses hair was a little bit long for your liking (I know you would’ve picked up on that) but honestly, as far as funerals go, it was incredible. So many people paid their respects to you Grandad. You always feared no one would turn up to your funeral but there were so many people. Admittedly, I had people coming up to me and I didn’t have the foggiest who they were (and touching my bump) but they were there for you – I know you’d laugh at the expressions on my face during these encounters. The pigeon release at the end, you would have loved. I know you loved your pigeons and pigeon racing. They were blue pies – your favourite. Even the wake was perfect. It was at the pub that used to be your barn on the farm. It seemed so fitting to go back to the place where it all started.
But still, I don’t know how I feel about never seeing you in person again.
It’s hard. I have to try and be strong for everyone else and because I’m pregnant so I’m constantly worrying about bringing harm to my baby but all I want to do (and often do) is find myself curled up in a heap crying when I’m on my own. Being on my own after work, I absolutely dread it. I know you wouldn’t want that but I can’t help it. What I wouldn’t do just to hear you laugh in person one more time. Or to hear one of your many stories of the farm and childhood, the mischief you used to get up to. Or to hear you sing, shout my name. To have one of your Grandad hugs, to tell me that I make a better door than a window. To go round to your house and eat the freshly picked tomatoes from your greenhouse. Sitting around the table after Christmas dinner, laughing, joking, just being us. Just, what I wouldn’t do to just see you again and have a conversation with you. Even if it was just for five minutes.
I feel robbed that I only got 24 years with you.
I know that people will say that’s amazing and it really is, some people aren’t that fortunate but I still can’t help but feel that way. It feels like we still had so much to speak and laugh about. So much to do and so many memories still to make and now it can’t ever happen.
One day, I’ll come to terms with what happened but the hole in my heart that’s been made from you passing will never heal. My life won’t be the same without you. All I can do is thank you for the times we shared together and thank you for being the best Grandad to me. Please watch over our son and look after him, I’m sorry you won’t ever meet. Try not to cause too much trouble up there, I know what you’re like! We’ll meet again some day but for now, I’ll see you in my dreams. In my dreams you’re healthy and well. Your face full of life and laughing. That’s how I’ll always remember you. I promise to make you proud. Until we meet again, I love you and miss you so much.