Yesterday we said goodbye to Grandad, it was a very beautiful service full of loving words about Grandad and it was lovely to have the family together.
I have somehow managed to pull it together for the past few weeks since he left us, but on reflection I think it was all because I had the little ones to keep me going and not let me have the time to sit and dwell on what has actually happened. I thought I was doing OK yesterday, up until I saw Grandad in the car pull up outside their house with all his beautiful flowers around him. It is such an overpowering feeling, knowing he was just there in front of us.
There were flowers from Mum and Uncle Stephen saying “Dad”, a beautiful bunch of Lillies on top of his coffin from Grandma, a “Grandad” from me, my brother Carl and my sister Charlotte and he had a little arrangement of pink and blue flowers from Noah and Isla. They were perfect, but it broke my heart.
The service was perfect, we took a very quiet and short drive to the church from their house and we walked Grandad into church. The last time I was in that church with Grandad he was walking me up the aisle – now we were walking him. The vicar said some kind words and prayers that I will remember for the rest of my life. Grandma wrote a beautiful piece about Grandads life: where he came from and what he did. His life in the RAF, the places he has seen and where he and Grandma first met: RAF Lyneham and they have been together for 48 years. How he was proud of his children, grand children and how in his later life loved playing aeroplanes with his great grandchildren. It was only 6 weeks ago he was sitting in their lounge and he spread his arms and blew a big raspberry whilst playing aeroplanes with Noah. Noah and Isla loved him so much, Isla has his big cheesey grin which I see every day.
Uncle Stephen wrote a piece about Grandad too and how he loved nature, that animals loved him as he did them and how his love of music comes from Grandad. It was lovely to hear some nice stories and some funny ones of Grandad that we can remember forever. He did love nature and his garden, he was always out walking when he was able. He would walk his dogs 3 times a day without fail and would spend hours upon hours in the garden after he retired. It is a beautiful garden and you can sit and watch the river at the bottom of the garden.
In true keeping with Grandads love of nature we were surrounded by sunshine, beautiful flowers and lots of white butterflies all day. When we left the church there was a jet black butterfly that flew over Grandad, then the first 2 rows of people behind Grandad (Mum, Grandma and Steve. Me, Carl and Charlotte) and flew off. We all knew that was Grandad showing us he was with us, supporting us through this mourning. It comforted me a lot.
I felt heart broken leaving the crematorium, I hated it. I didn’t want to leave him there, I didn’t want him to be alone and I still don’t. I just have to find comfort in the fact that although physically he is not with us, he is always in my head, my heart and all around me in other ways. When I play on my piano, I will think of Grandad as it was him and Grandma that encouraged me to learn. When I listen to classical music it will remind me of Grandad who had a love for it, along with Guinness and Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut. Lots of things will trigger memories and happy times, lots of things I will make sure Noah and Isla take on their life journeys too.
There was one thing that Grandad did that Noah does too and I am glad he does: Grandad used to scratch things, for example he would sit in the armchair and when concentrating on a TV programme you would notice him scratching the armrest of the chair over and over. Grandma had to put a blanket on the chair in the end and you can see where Grandad wore the fabric away over time. Well little Noah does this too, when he is nervous or concentrating, you can see his little fingers scratching. So every time he does that I will think of Grandad and I will make sure Noah knows he got that from him…
My uncle Stephen showed Isla a photo of Grandad yesterday afternoon and she pointed at him and said Grandad, I will make sure they never forget about him and what he meant to me and my family. She did proceed to search for him beyond the photo, looking behind the photo frame which upset me a lot but I know its because she doesn’t understand. Noah looks to the sky and says “Grandad is in the sky, he is watching us” so I hope he takes some comfort from that. I just cant believe he can’t speak to us anymore, he cant be with us anymore – no more funny Grandad jokes and silly noises… But we have them in our memories.
One of the happy things of yesterday was the family being together, not just the immediate family but Grandads nephew from New Zealand made it to the funeral and Grandma’s sister and family too. It was great to have them there, just such a shame it was for the reason that it was. I love hearing about Grandad from other people, there are some beautiful comments in his memory book – neighbours talking about happy memories of him, my other Grandparents saying how he was a lovely man and my Great Aunt Lilian who wrote about how he helped her and was always there. That was Grandad, he was always there, he was always helpful and he would do whatever he could to help when he thought appropriate. He wasn’t an emotional man, he was a straight forward and matter of fact man – which as Uncle Stephen said in his writing, sometimes that is all you need.
I think it is no great secret that Grandad was a huge part of my life and I will miss him incredibly, growing up he was the man who I could turn to for help and guidance, their home is a sanctuary to me. When I was younger Grandad and I spent a lot of time together: trips to the park, holidays or just sitting reading or enjoying music. He has a collection of Encyclopaedias that he would sit and read with me and I would learn all sorts of wonderful things. I loved playing hide and seek with Grandad, I always used to think I’d found the perfect hiding place but he would always find me. When I got older I used to stay at their house every Thursday, where he would always let me have the froth from the top of his Guinness and we would sit and watch Inspector Morse. Feeding the ducks at Grandma and Grandads house is a favourite past time that is now Noah & Isla’s favourite too and it was a perfect end to the day yesterday.