My Paternal Grandparents
My Grandfather passed away today.
I went to see him 2 weeks ago in Southern England and I got the chance to sit with him over the 2 weeks that I was there. He told us stories about his life, and asked me questions. Some days were better than others, and there were times when all we did was sit with him.
Unfortunately he wasn't eating much, and he had lost a lot of weight. He had no appetite, and despite us offering to bring him things, he wasn't too interested. He was in an incredible hospice, a fantastic place called Saint Michaels. He'd gone into heart failure and the doctors were providing palliative care for him.
I learned some amazing things about my Grandfather. One of the first nights I was there, he told my Mom and I about his 12 siblings. He was the youngest and the last left. He had a story about all of them, especially Uncle Fred, who was everyone's favorite. When he was a young boy he saw his brother Frank killed in front of him with a cricket bat. His older brother Jack had a falling out with his father, and never talked to his mother again, even though he lived 4 houses down. My grandfather was the only one to have a relationship with Jack, as Jack had a son is age, and taught them how to box.
There was a Pyro in my family before me. Uncle Fred produced the Fire Works show at Crystal Palace
in London every Thursday night. Fred would come over and give my grandfather a box of fireworks to play with. They grew up in Anesley, just down the hill from Crystal Palace. They could hear all the events going on there from their back yard. I feel an amazing connection to the place just from hearing their stories. When my grandfather was 17, he watched Crystal Palace burn to the ground. According to Fred, the fire started in the zoo. (family thought points to monkeys with matches. My father didn't even know Crystal Palace had a zoo.
In the army, he served in World War II and was in the Dorset band. Although they lived in South London, Fred was very smart, and convinced them to flee the city and move to Dorset before the war even started.
My grandparents were married for over 60 years. He would have been 93 in February. I'm really proud to be have been his Grandson, and I know he was proud of me. I'm thankful for the time I got to spend with him.
Thanks for your hugs. I don't feel like I've lost anything, and I'm not in grief. Living till 92 is an incredible accomplishment. I just hope to live half the life he did. If you heard the stories I did, you'll know that's a lofty goal.