There’s been a lot of talk this week about the horrendous acts of 7th July ten years ago. We’ve seen people recall the events and discuss the impact it has had on them, on families and on loved ones since.
I can recall that week very clearly too, but for a different reason. Ten years ago, just three days after the atrocities in London, I lost my dad. I’m not really one for publically sharing my private emotions and feelings, but a whole decade on, there were just a few thoughts I wanted to record.
Everyone deals with grief and loss in different ways but, I reckon that no matter who we are, there are the details we’ll always remember and the parts we’ll never forget. I’ve often heard people talk about how they’d love just a few more hours or even a day with the one they’d lost. For me, that’s something I’ve never wanted to do, for one simple reason: I wouldn’t want to have to feel that initial, raw pain again.
If I had the chance though, if he was in good health and if the separation didn’t have to hurt that way again, I’d jump at the chance to introduce him to the grandchildren he never met and tell him how, in so many ways they remind me of him.
I’d watch them jump on his knee and tell him about what they’d been up to and watch as little Miss M, whose sleepy-head hair bristles just like his did, try to pull his glasses off. No doubt, Misses E & K would want to tell him all about their swimming lessons and I bet he’d challenge them to swim lengths with him, underwater if they’re brave enough!
We’d head outside, because it would be a glorious day and as the girls would run around, he’d laugh mischievously as he’d try to turn the hose on them and they’d squeal and laugh, pretending to run away while actually running towards it, and shout, ‘Daddy does that too!’
We’d all laugh together as we’d sit down to a big bowl of ice cream and I’d warn the girls to watch theirs, just in case he tried to pinch it on them. He’d take delight in feeding it to Miss M, who devours ice cream with glee, and they’d both smile as it dribbled down her chin.
The girls would see granny and granda together and would see their eyes twinkle, seeing the love and devotion of the happily married couple that I was blessed to be given as a living example of how wonderful marriage can be.
Undoubtedly, they’d make a mess, or maybe something would even get broken, but he would remind us that as long as they’re ok, that’s all that matters. After all, things can be replaced.
They’d see humility and they’d see patience. They’d see someone who wasn’t one for the limelight, but one who demonstrated love and devotion as naturally as breathing. A level-headed man whose family was his priority. A man who took everything in his stride and saw no sense in getting worked up. A godly, Christian man who lived out his faith each and every day. One who was calm in a crisis, matter of fact about life and straight thinking. He wasn’t one to fuss and no doubt, as I’d tell the girls to look at the mess they’d made and get it sorted, he’d probably tell me to calm myself.
He would love the changes in technology and, he’d love the girls showing him how to do puzzles and search for information on a tablet.
But, all too soon, it would be time to say goodbye again and I’d hear, ‘Love you, see you later.’ As we’d head away, he’d wave us off at the door, before turning round to do something, probably humming or singing to himself.
And, we’d all look forward to having fun with him again.
But that isn’t to be and, meeting Granda Bertie never was something my little ladies got to do. But, I’m so thankful for memories and for the stories I can share with them. Someday, I hope they’ll understand why it means so much to me that they all got to sleep in a cot he made and why little Miss M is named after the granny I never got to meet, as my tribute to him. I hope and pray that they can see in their dad and I the love for each other and for them that I witnessed growing up and that as they grow, they too will learn to treasure all the little moments, the seemingly insignificant and day-to-day ones that make the journey we call life so precious. As the saying goes, ‘When someone you love becomes memory, that memory becomes a treasure.’ I’m so thankful for the priceless bounty my dad left me.