My first real memory of you was the lawn mower rides we shared together You would always greet me with a smile as large as the moon. We would spend hours cutting the grass, just you and me, pretending to be in a rally race, you the driver and me the navigator. The joy and thrill of those “races” are still the highlights of my early memories now.
I remember staying over every weekend, we’d play board games all day, then we would walk your beloved German shepherds, Connor and Finn.
As we walked you would tell me jokes and about your own childhood. I would listen in awe of your stories, with a belly full of laughter to your jokes and always so sure in the knowledge that you would do anything to keep me safe and secure. I always felt as if nothing bad could touch me while you were there.
When it was time to go home, I would go home inflated like a balloon full of laughter and happiness
Another strong memory for me was the Sunday morning freshly baked scones. My sister and I would rush over early every Sunday morning to see our special scones, each baked in the shape of the first letters of our names. I remember that somehow, they tasted better for it. But it was around then you seem off like a favourite drink that suddenly has a harsh after taste.
Not long after, you were diagnosed with dementia.
Of course, at the time, no one would tell me this, nor properly explain it. All I was told, was that you were old and forgetful. I know my parents did this to shield me.
But as the years went on, you were not the man I knew as a boy, happy, kind and caring- Now you were like an African elephant a caged beast, angry, wild, violent, reckless. Your dementia ridiculed you like a stone wall be swallowed by a thorn bush. You would wander around like a confused child lost in a supermarket, disappearing for long periods of time. I worried about you when you were gone, but about myself when you were near. Feared for you when you were in public, feared for myself when it was just you and me. Hoping and praying that you were safe, that I was safe. However, you were oblivious to your safety and others, leading you to the middle of a road. where you were found by the police, who were sent out by your wife’s behest.
As the dementia got worse you did to, you withered away over time, you were once a big strong 6-foot man, now you are just skin and bones, bed bound, unable to speak. Only surviving because of the life support machine.
I know grandad, you would never have liked to live like that. I know you hate being dependent on others. I know you would have wanted to have gone way before you got into this state.
Then came 23rd February 2018 the day I lost you forever.
I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea that I would never see you again. No more conversations, no more walks with the dogs, no more board games, no more sleepovers, but the things I miss the most about you are your large cheerful smile and your jolly laugh. And it was while I carried your coffin, your dead weight on my shoulders, that I truly realized… you were gone. Gone forever.
Although you were not always there due to your illness. I’ve realized what an incredible man you were, and how lucky I am to have had you in my life. Though it is difficult to express in words, the amount I miss you is beyond any measure.
There is not a day that goes by when I dont think about you. Grans house feels empty without you. Goodbye grandad. I will always remember you.