My Grandad died on the 13th of July, he was 83. He'd been on holiday in Spain and fell and broke his hip. He never recovered. The memorial service was last week while I was in Switzerland. I was told he'd died while on the school Duke of Edinburgh trip while half way up a mountain. The whole thing seems completely surreal. I never imagined him dying yet, he'd been partially blind for 10 years, and had a brush with cancer of the oesophagus but was as healthy as you could hope for in someone who was 83. I never dreamed he's die yet, he was my last surviving grandparent and I can't believe he didn't get to see any of his grand children get married or to see the birth of any of his great grandchildren.
He was never an affectionate Grandad, and definitely not the sort to look after my brother and I while my parents went and did something. He mellowed in old age, and while he never said he loved me I know without doubt that he did. The reason I'm writing all this now is that today I went over to his house my family and met up with my Aunty who has come over from America. We went through the boxes in the loft, and it was so tragic how little there was. We saved a couple of things, but so much has gone to the charity shop. In a lifetime he collected very little in terms of value to leave behind for us to remember him by. However I have got my Grandma's wedding ring, she died when I was 2, aged just 60. It's not worth very much, it's only a couple of millimetres wide and 9 carrot gold, but has a simplicity that I love.
It's taken until today for me to realise that he was gone, that he wouldn't need another pair of hand knitted socks this Christmas, and that he wouldn't be able to tell us inappropriate dirty jokes while drinking a pint of his beloved beer. He used to let me and my brother have a drink from his pint if we were good, I always thought he'd be around to do the same to my children.
My Grandad's favourite tipple was whisky, which I can't stand, but I have got a glass of sloe gin to drink to him.
Rest in peace Grandad, I hope there's a good pub wherever you are.