Last Thursday my family received some heartbreaking news, our grandfather had left us. We were shocked and saddened beyond belief.
We as a family had been incredibly lucky, not only because we had had precious time with him (he was 85) but because my brother, sisters and I had until this point never really experienced loss. My grandmother died when my dad was 14 so we had only ever known the feeling of having our Grandpop minus our Grandma. He had never remarried and lived his whole life in the same home he had once shared with his wife. A house that year by year stayed just about the same as we quickly changed.
When we heard the news of his passing an unmistakable ripple of pain quivered throughout our family. We didn’t know what to do. Hell, we didn’t even really know how to plan a funeral! Step by step, hour by hour we did the jobs that had to be done. We sadly shared the news of his passing, we chose his casket, planned the memorial, printed booklets.
We delved through photographs of a whole person’s life and tried to choose ones that reflected the man we had known. We watched him evolve from a small boy to a strapping young lad cloaked in Army Uniform representing his beloved Australia. He became a husband, a father and eventually he became our Grandpop.
To be honest I don’t know how to feel, I don’t know if I am even grieving accurately. Is there a proper way to do it?
I am angry and sad. I feel guilty and betrayed. Am I selfish for wishing he tried to stay just a little bit longer? I wish I could hug him or hear his deep voice. I continually count all the things that we took for granted when he was here and I now desperately wish I could experience it all just one more time. I just want to bottle it somehow. Keep it in a safe place where no one can take him away from me again.
He was far from perfect and he would definitely be the first to admit that but he was my Grandpop and I was his sweetie pie number one. I hate that I will never again hear him call me that. I miss him. My heart aches knowing there is no more time with him. That horribly that choice to see him again has been taken from me.
My sisters and I said the following at his funeral. Somehow though it just doesn’t seem enough.
Today we stand here and remember a remarkable human being.
He was many things to many people. He was a husband, a father, a brother. He was a proud Australian, a sensational cook and an average bird impressionist. He knew like few others how to REALLY wear a suit, he loved cigars and cream in his tea. He loved the Army and war stories. He loved reading. But above all, he loved us.
Gramps, you had a remarkable way with words, you could keep us on the edge of our seats with your fantastic stories. You recalled your time in the Army with such fondness and pride and took great pleasure in teaching us broken Japanese. You spoke often about our grandma and how much you wished she had met us. You liked to drink scalding hot cups of tea and would frequently remind us that you remembered when we were only the size of a loaf of bread.
You never forgot our birthdays, you always sent a card. You bought us ice creams and milkshakes and loved taking us to the park. There was many times that you even jumped on the play equipment with us!
We spent many a time with you eating fish and chips from the shop on the hill, drinking cheap soft drink and sweating through bowls of your deliciously wicked curries! We chowed down on googley eggs in a cup, well that was until the revolt of ‘94 when you crossed the line, changed the recipe and added tomato sauce! There were tantrums and stern words to you Grandpop not to never ever ever add tomato sauce again. Much like you, they were better without all the fuss.
You could cater like no other, Sydney trips were filled with stops at your house to stock up on hors d’oeurves, or like you called them ‘horses doofeses’. You made the most magnificent roasts which we will likely spend the rest of our days trying unsuccessfully to recreate.
We will remember how you told us all about your girlfriend. She was a super hairy broad, with one ear and a peg leg, but lucky she was worth lots of money! We will miss the never-ending threat to send us a photo of yourself because, in your own very modest words, you were simply the best looking man on earth.
There is so much we will remember about our time with you, you were so generous. You gave us so much. You showered us with brooches, jewellery and teapots. Once you even let us loose with real scissors on your luscious locks and let us cut your hair! Unfortunately for the best looking man on earth our skills didn’t quite match our enthusiasm and you were left with little choice but to rock out with some bald spots for a few weeks!
Above all, we will always be most grateful for you giving us our daddy, you were his best mate and biggest supporter. We look at photos of the two of you now and your face just gleams with pride.
Without a doubt the hardest part about losing you isn’t the tears, the pain or the grieving, but now the fact that we will have to learn how to live our lives without you in it. Our gramps is gone and we are broken. We are your family and like you taught us we will band together, remember the good times, talk of you often and learn to exist in a world that heartbreakingly we no longer share with you.
We love you. We miss you. We will remember you for always.
Grandpop I hope you are safe and rest in peace, well until I get to see you again anyway!
Farewell old man, you really are missed.
Please Nesters hug your family just a little bit closer today and make sure you take advantage of the now, you never know when the last time will be the last time.