364 days has passed, tomorrow is the day that I have been dreading for 364 days. The year, the day that a year has passed. How can a year have passed already? Well, it has. I think about it a lot, that week in the hospice. But not often for the bad reasons. I think about Grandad and I remember happy times, things that make me smile. It is hard at times, when I feel low, I just want to cuddle him. One day!
I spent the day with my Grandma today, we talked about Grandad for a while, it was really nice to just sit and talk to someone who knew him more than anyone else. She holds a lot of precious memories of Grandad, which she will keep close to her heart. It’s the most special gift you can give to someone I think. I explained that some days, most days when I visit her I still wait for him to come down the stairs after his nap saying “oooh look whose here”. After a year, should I not feel like this? I feel like he is still there, he is still with us. Then some days I feel low and I know he isn’t. I picture him lying in the hospice, quiet and rested and remember he isn’t. He really isn’t. This time last year would have been the last time I saw Grandad alive. I spent the night in his hospice room with him, Grandma and Mumma, the last night. It was a Wednesday night. He was very peaceful and he was very calm, breathing patterns changed a lot and we hung on every breathe. It had been like that for 24 hours or so. So many emotions had run through us all, so many episodes of grief had been experienced in that room and that was when he was still with us. We had argued, cried, fallen out, laughed, joked, gossiped and talked the days and nights away. The week felt like an entire month. I think to be honest it was the most peaceful week of my life. I would give anything to be there again holding his hand. I love his hands. He had great hands, squidgy finger tips. I used to love squidging them.
I will never forget the day he passed away, I had to go home to look after the children. I had to at some point, I know that. Hubby had to go to work and Nanny and Grandad had been helping so much that I had to step away from the hospice and spend some time with the children. It was good for me. I know that now. Looking back. They keep me happy. They keep me smiling. Just like Grandad did. It was 5pm that evening though that I received the call from Mumma, the call with no words. I was just leaving my house, with the kids, to take them to Nanny’s so I could go back to the hospice and “that” call came. Just tears on the other end. Mumma couldn’t even utter the words to me. But I knew what she was saying. I knew it in the tears. I felt so lost. So panicked and completely miserable that I had not been with him at that moment. Holding his hand. I almost hate myself for it. But Mumma told me that he felt happy to go when I wasn’t there as I was with my babies, where I should be. Which comforts me a little bit. Maybe she is right.
I have been looking through some of my photos, some of the happy photos that make me smile.
Rambo loved Grandad, I think everyone loved Grandad to be honest, he was a hard man not to love! If that makes sense. He loved animals and always greeted them with open arms, and chins for kisses of course. He loved walking dogs, growing up he always had a dog and he would always take the dog for walks – I used to love it at weekends as I would meet him at the common near my family home and would walk with him.
The photo below was taken when I was quite pregnant with Noah, Grandads nephew Alec and his wife Judy came over from New Zealand to visit and we got some lovely photos of everyone. Amongst them was this one, I treasure it because it is me and my Grandad – he does look like he is giving me that look though! The look that says I am not completely happy with what you have just said/done and my face looks rather smug. For the life of me I cannot remember what we were talking about, but I love the photo regardless of his expression. He had a lot of expressions, mainly big cheesey grins, he would enter a room with a big cheesey grin and instantly you smiled – inside and outside.
Below is Alec and Judy, with Grandma and my littlens. This was last year, just after Grandad’s funeral. They had come over from New Zealand again to see us all and wanted so dearly to see Grandad, but they missed him by 2 weeks. It was such a shame, but it was super to see them and it’s funny because Alec just reminds me so much of Grandad. They share an uncanny resemblance – you can tell they are related and I think he looks a lot like Grandad. It comforts me. It makes me want to live in New Zealand.
This one is my favourite photos out of the archives, it kind of shows the Grandad smile. The one that makes you feel happy just to see it, he could be smiling about nothing at all, it wouldn’t matter, you just felt happy. That’s what he meant to me, just be with him, near him, talk to him, share a smile and a joke with him made me feel happy. This photo was at his 90th birthday do last March (2013) before we found out about the illness. Before our little lives were shaken upside down. He makes me feel incredibly proud to be his grand-daughter. I am proud to be a Bentley. I now have my own little mini (half) Bentley’s to bring up and I will make sure that they never forget who he was, what he meant to me and how amazing he was. It’s funny as Noah shares a few of his little characteristics, he just does little things that Grandad used to do too. It comforts me. Little Noah George Constant – George being Grandad’s name.
The 1st of August will be a hard day. A hard day for all of us. I love you Grandad, very much.