The passage of time allows for some amazing things. As a young child you really don’t know what will be the lasting memories that will influence your life long into your adult years. I was only 7 years old when my Grandfather died. I remember the day it happened like it was yesterday – Sunday January 16, 1984.
It was a typical Sunday for me I guess. Sunday was a day we would go to my father’s parent’s home for a family lunch. It was something that happened every week although my Grandfather had become very ill in 1983 and spent several months in hospital. He had smoked all his life and his heart disease was considered too advanced to treat. He was sent home to spend his last Christmas with the family in 1983 and it was a waiting game to see when he would pass on.
I remember that day for many reasons. For some reason he wanted to sit at the door and I sat with him and chatted. My younger sister was only 1 year old and she too wanted to be with him that day – almost as if we knew it was our last chance. It is funny how children seem to have a sixth sense and it’s something that we seem to lose a little as we get older.
After lunch that day my Grandfather moved into the Lounge and was eating chocolate when my cousin screamed. I knew instantly what had happened and my father ran to his Dad who looked at him and passed on. I remember the Funeral Directors wrapping my Grandfather in what sounded like aluminum foil – I could hear it but I dared not look. In hindsight I guess I could have given him one last kiss but I was young and very upset and I have no regrets.
I remember him picking me up from school in Kindergarten, first and second class and I remember him for his encouragement and support. He was accepted into Law school before meeting my Grandmother and due to financial restraints never completed the course. He bought his law text books and was ready to start but ended up driving trucks his entire life. He always stressed that he wanted more for me and for that I am really thankful.
It’s hard to imagine the sacrifice he made and it must have played on his mind for his entire life. Driving trucks was not his dream – it was law. Yet he never complained and provided for his family as best he could. When he married my Grandmother he inherited two daughters and it was for that reason that he needed to work rather than study.
His favourite song was “Mull of Kintyre” by Paul McCartney and Wings and I used to listen to it with him all the time. It’s still special when I hear that song and I am constantly inspired by his sacrifice and want to achieve great things in many ways because I told him I would. I know he would be proud of my life and 25 years after his death he still inspires me. For that I am very thankful.