The death of my Grandfather – a sense of loss

Hi Pop

I was in the early years of Primary School when you died, apart from the visit to the Barber when I was three, every other memory I have of you is one of kindness and love.

The trips to see you on those magical Sundays when we would set off early to travel the eighty odd kilometres due west, are etched in my mind as if they were yesterday.

The trip itself, was always an adventure; in summer; the road was a dusty, pot holed strip of red gravel with watery mirages sweeping across the plains, and in winter; it was a greasy, perilous series of mud filled holes.

Your tiny, dark home on the outskirts of town had doorways certainly not built for your towering height, You were a giant stooping as you went from room to room, there was no running water in the kitchen and tiny, wizened Nan would have to carry buckets to fill the sink.

You were a strange pair; you, as tall as Nan was short, you; a former Catholic who renounced his religion to marry your god fearing, non-drinking Baptist wife. Your love had been hardened in the depths of the Depression and the pain of having your oldest son captured and held as a POW for most of the Second World War.

You always seemed happy with each other and were always genuinely pleased to see us on these visits.

I hated the dusty, god forsaken town where you lived but loved the time with you. Despite poverty, there was always a sweet from Nan and a cheeky twinkle in your eye as I sat on your knee while you read to me in your deep, sonorous voice.

I don’t know why I was not allowed to go to your funeral, I recall wandering round the schoolyard that day, not really understanding you were truly gone, hoping I would go home to find out, it had all been an awful mistake.

Many years later, I would be at the funerals of Sascha’s Mum and Dad, watching as my small grandchildren somberly bid farewell to their Nan and Pop, I felt a dreadful sense of loss I was not allowed the same honour when you died.

If there are separate places beyond, for Catholics and non-Catholics, I am not sure where you would fit in. I remember your furtive visits to the Nunnery next to where you lived late in life. You would sit and talk to the Nuns, as you mended their shoes, in some sort of rapprochement with the religion of your birth.

I don’t think it matters, wherever you are; it will be a place reserved for the truly good and truly humble.

I miss you Pop

Bruce

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