Today marks the 7 year anniversary of life without my Grandad (or Granda as me and my family called him). His whole life he suffered from different illnesses and was constantly in and out of the hospital, but he was the strongest and bravest person I have ever known and still made us laugh no matter how much pain he was in. My Granda finally lost his battle to skin cancer and it’s heartbreaking that the last memories stuck in my brain are of him physically deteriorating; his once thick head of hair gone and replaced with bandages, his big round belly diminished and his tanned, flawless skin turning pale, blotchy and scabbed.
He was my best friend in the world and we were attached at the hip. Even though it’s been 2557 days without him, it doesn’t get any easier. I feel as much heartache when I think of him as I did the day he died. In my opinion, when someone you love dies you never quite get over it. Instead, you simply learn to live without them. Missing my Granda isn’t the problem- it’s knowing that I’ll never see him again. I’ll never hear him laugh like crazy at Tom & Jerry or Only Fools and Horses. I won’t smell his home cooking. I won’t wake up after staying with him to a big bag of sweets he bought for me at the shop that morning. He’s missed all of my birthdays, including the special 18th and 21st and I’ve missed his. He wasn’t there to see me finish high school or graduate university 2 months ago, or to wish me well on my around the world trip last Summer. He was the one who wanted to take me out for driving lessons and teach me how to drive, but he passed away before I turned 17. Little does he know I’ve been driving (badly) for years now. He will miss my mums 50th, he won’t be at my wedding and he won’t be a great Grandad to my children one day.
My family wrote him a poem to help us get through his death and we put it on the back of his funeral card. It read:
As a Dad with my family
I lived a happy life
I was married for 34 years to my lovely wife.
Now there’s many things for you to do
and many ways to grow.
So get busy, be happy, live your life
remember me, but let me go.
When a grandparent passes they take a part of you with them: big or small. When you were younger, you planned out life with them. You shared your insecurities with them, your dreams, your hopes and most of all you shared your love. Although people may say we shouldn’t dwell on the past, I think it’s healthy to keep loved ones that have passed away in our thoughts. That way, they will always be in your memories and you will consciously want to do them proud.
I don’t think the pain will ever get any easier, but everybody experiences death and it’s a natural part of life! I just wish I didn’t have to live the past 7 years without my Granda by my side.