My grand-father died a fortnight ago and it’s hit me hard.
I can’t believe that the silver-haired man in the tatty oilskins and muddy boots with his twine around his waist isn’t here anymore. I can’t believe that the man with the wry smile and the sly wink has gone. I can’t believe that the man that tickled my feet to wake me up, the man who let me drive a car for the first time, crashing into a tractor, is buried in the cemetery of my childhood chapel.
It’s completely bizarre.
Every Sunday, we’d go to my grand-parents for a chin wag and to warm up by the fire. He was always there, in his chair, with his large reading glasses magnifying his blue eyes.
It wasn’t a great shock to hear of his death; he’d been ill for a few months and had been hospitalised, and had only just come home. He had carers looking after him and was bed-bound. He’d also suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for a year or two.
But, I didn’t get to say goodbye. I was going to stay with him for the night on the Friday. He died on the Thursday.
This haunted me for a while.
My heart feels like it has been throttled and emptied of all blood. I find myself vacant of any feeling or emotion often. And then I remember, and I seek for comfort. I seek a warm shoulder to lie my head on, strong arms to hide me from pain.
I seek him, the Artist.
Around a month ago, I told him that I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t face constantly worrying over what he did or didn’t do, what he said or didn’t say and whether I would hear from him during the week to come. I hated not ever knowing where I stood. It was tearing me apart and I couldn’t concentrate for days following our meetings.
I told him when I was about to leave one night and when I got up, he told me to sit back down. He was upset. I was upset.
“Can’t we just stay as we are?”
No, we can’t. It’s too complicated. I’m afraid that if I carry on, I won’t be able to leave. It’s better to do it now.
We hugged for a while and it was lovely.
The thing is, we left it with my pissed off shout at him as he said that I was being over-dramatic.
And now I miss him.
I hurt even more, knowing that he’s gone. He was never there in the first place, for goodness’ sake. But it doesn’t stop me.
I seek him.
I grieve for my grand-father, and I seek the man I wanted to be mine.