Friday, 20 May 2016

10 Years Later

Today, my Grandfather has been dead for ten years.

My Grandad was very much my father figure, as my parents parted when I was two years old and I have no relationship with my biological father.

He helped me with my homework, his particular specialities were English and History. He gave me a love of documentaries and museums. In fact, he'd take me round all the museums every summer holiday and I loved it. I think it's probably this that gave me my love of stories.

I remember vividly the sensation of moving from the brilliantly sunny day outside, into the cool dimness of a museum, with it's particular tang of dust and faint damp, plastic and old uniforms. I remember holding his hand as went around. When we went to places like The Imperial War Museum, I never had to read the labels on each exhibit because he would tell me about them, usually because he had known them - the gas masks, the fire buckets, the rough serge uniforms.

And I remember perching on the arm of the sofa in the back room, watching the Eurovision Song Contest with him. He did not have a particularly high opinion of the contest, but somehow we always ended up watching it and I always ended up howling with laughter at his reactions to some of the wilder entries.

I can feel my face pinching, my eyes welling, even as I type this. Ten years is a long time, but I don't think the pain ever really diminishes; you just get better at looking at other things rather than directly at it, you learn not to poke the sore spot. But when you do, as now, it's like looking into the sun and it's just as painful as if it happened yesterday.

My Grandad had a permanent tan (to this day, I'm not sure how he managed it), the brightest blue eyes you ever saw and a smell that I cannot describe, but that I can conjure up right now as strongly as if I had my nose buried in his shirt.

One day he will be gone longer than I knew him.

1 comment:

  1. Such a touching post. My Grampy played the same role in my life as yours did for you. Luckily he is still here (but not the same man, old, frail and hardly able to move from his chair - that's a different kind of heartbreaking) but yesterday was the 16th anniversary of my Nan's death. She was the knitter and sewer who inspired my mum and me, and who meant so very much to all of us. You are right, the pain doesn't diminish, but distraction gets easier. I met my husband a year to he day after her death (a dating distraction) so the date is both happy and sad now - I often wonder what she would think of him, how they'd have gotten on. Life is hard sometimes. Xxx