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A letter to my grandpa. 

Hi all,

I don’t usually post on the wknd or holidays but I thought why not? It’s about me and writing, not just consistency.

Today is a special day. It’s 1 year since my grandpa passed. I’m not sad though as I feel his presence all around me. He lives through all my family who I live with so he’s always here.

Grandpa always wanted to listen to my writing. Always. From a kid I’d write stories. He had a way of making all his grandchildren feel like the most special and unique in his world and our own. He believed(s) in all us. Grandpa was…quite simply … incredible.

Before I started this blog, my original idea was to write a series of letters to various family members for a variety of reasons. 1) to show my love for them in a way I articulate myself best. 2) to honestly express how I feel about them in my life as specific roles (e.g – father, grandmother etc), then and now. 3) because I’m blessed with an incredible family of both blood relatives and friends who I genuinely am overwhelmed with admiration for. Whether I’d show them this or not would be dependant on the content that spilled from my thoughts, feelings and state of mind at the time. For now, it’s grandpa’s day.

As a little girl I was grandpa’s, (you guessed it) ‘little girl’. A head of blonde curls and a being who could do no wrong. It’s not just about me though. I absolutely LOVE how grandpa took an interest in everything and everyone. An extremely intelligent man, he took my brother through uni for his economic degree, he’d be interested in every one of my friends who walked through the doors of the most open house in my universe (where I live now), from Mugabe to Labour to bird spotting in the garden to his love of Jazz to his family values – grandpa had all of this love and knowledge inside his one body. How amazing?!

His body – however, deteriorated with MS but his brain and being continued for a long long time and I believe still does. I miss that smile. His fluffy hair that stayed so soft and fluffy. Those kisses he’d greet us with…you know – like typical family kisses, slightly soppy that make your eyes squint a bit and wet your cheek – you’ll miss those one day!

He continued to be a doting father, husband, friend, and family member to many of the lives he touched. His legacy carries on.

Grandpa, I personally want to thank you for a lot.

Throughout my degree (he was big on education and used to speak to me about my dissertation from my first year at uni!) he’d always share an interest, want to know my opinion and share his. He was the first person who I told about my grade because he was my number one fan.

The way I saw it, grandma and grandpa (my dad’s parents) shared a heartwarming relationship of a powerful partnership, an inspiration to us all. I don’t remember too much of grandpa before his wheelchair days, yet he was one of the most active influences in my life.

When I spoke to him before I introduced my partner, (incase you don’t know I’m a white Jewish lass!) a black Zimbabwean, his words still stick with me and make me chuckle, “finally, a bit of colour in the family!”. (Although our family on mum’s side actually is pretty *gulp*- is colourful really the right kinda word here?🙈…Brasillian, Greek-Cypriot, one bro married a Chinese….).

When my partner first met grandpa, they hit it off. As usual it began with an almost interview feel which I just left them to it. Grandpa’s thirst for knowledge and interest in world affairs was bigger than any I know! I believe they sat for seemingly hours engrossed in conversation about Zimbabwe and politics. What he wanted to do with his life (accounting) and when that came into play, along came another conversation. Amazing. It was so nice to watch.

Grandpa loved it when we visited. No matter how much pain he may have been in to the lead up of his passing his beeeeautoful little round face always smiled, and eventually, we switched roles in the kissing.

I used to always try and have these deep meaningful life affirming conversations with grandpa myself whenever I visited. Because with his MS, there were always scares to his lifespan. So I tried to make the most of each time. My most memorable treasure was sitting with him in the garden and having a proper matter about the future.

In his last few weeks, I wrote a letter to him, that I read at his place of passing, when he was still alive. Instead of reading at the funeral, I wanted grandpa on planet earth to know how much he meant to me. Although he was a bit out of it, he just about turned a lip side upwards, signalling a smile. He knew. And that was my goodbye.

Grandpa, you shine through us all. I hope you can see how your house still lives with you in it and your values. The friendship you had with my partner? It’s lived in through grandma. Her and him? They’re like peas in a pod! And I’m here too. We play scrabble a lot.. You took us in, grandpa, to help us build a life for ourselves and save some money. Thank you grandpa.

Love you eternally, hope to continue to do you proud. I wander if you know what I’m doing in the charity sector, that my partner passed his exam? I know you know, actually. As I feel your love. Love always, Abs X 💜

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