I’ve been thinking about my Nan and Grandad a lot just recently. I miss them, they had such a huge impact on my life. So much in fact, that I turned down jobs abroad to make sure I stayed in the area so I could be there if they needed me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss them in a sad, feeling sorry for myself kind of a way.
They were both amazing and generous people who would never turn their back on family or even friends. And, they had a great sense of humour.
We were living in Newark and I was just about old enough to go to the park on my own….I say just about, which kind of translates to: I legged it to the park at any given opportunity. After the panic of my disappearance, Nan started looking around for me and eventually found me at the park. It was raining and I refused to go home with her, to the point where I sprinted to a climbing frame that was essentially a huge stepladder curved into an arch, and climbed to the highest point and proceeded to taunt her. It was like the top left one in the pic below.
What I didn’t expect, was the turn of speed my nan was capable of displaying, and she shot up the climbing frame at a rapid rate of knots and grabbed me. I demonstrated the kind of caring child I was by yelling “I hate you nanna” repeatedly. This was interspersed by my nan responding with “I hate you too”, followed by a slap of my arse. This continued all the way home, until I was grounded :(
My Grandad was known to perform amazing tricks like, stopping in the middle of a crossroads because the lights on the other side turned red as he was going. He would laugh hysterically as we would look for a change of underwear.
I blame my nan for my current size (unlike most people who blame bone structure or water retention). My nan was like Mrs Doyle on speed, but instead of cups of tea it was food. I will blame her, I always have…she loved it really. This was really down to her generosity though more than a need to feed people to bursting. She would also order stuff that was too big, or that they wouldn’t want, just to be able to give it to members of the family. They took this to the extreme once when I needed a washing machine. My nan convinced grandad that they needed a new washer as it didn’t “fit” with the look of the kitchen. A week later I had their perfect condition, 1 year old washing machine.
They had their little foibles too though, both of them would go nuts if anyone touched my grandads grandfather clock or stereo equipment. It had to be me and only me. Someone else tried to change the time on the clock once, got it wrong and was almost exiled from the family. I was called immediately after they left to sort it out. Same thing with the stereo equipment, my grandad had 2 stereos and swapped them from time to time so as to keep them from wearing out. Quite why he couldn’t have bought one and used it until he needed to buy another one was something that always escaped me.
There are hundreds of stories of how they affected my life in a positive way, how they never stopped believing in me, eventually I even started to believe in myself, and for that I am eternally grateful. I have still never managed to forgive myself for not being strong enough with my boss to leave work when my grandad was dying, I blamed my boss, but in reality my lack of strength resulted in my grandad passing literally as I pulled up in my car. Something I have most definately addressed since that day, so thankyou Grandad. I have to say though, Sarah was there when he passed and said something which I now see as a nice thing. She said that they all heard my car and that either Sarah or my mum said “Davids here”, and my Grandad smiled and passed away right then and there. She says that he did this because I was there to take care of everyone and be strong for him. To start with, that just hurt me more, but over the years I have come to take some solace in that whenever I look back.
My nan passed a couple of years ago and I made sure that I was there, I called the family together when people were unsure if it was the right thing to do…basically the strength I got following my Grandads passing helped me through it. Nan was fading in and out, but I recall a very lucid moment about a day before she finally (and peacefully) passed. She called all the family together, like the veritable matriarch and gave every single one of us some information that she felt important, something a lot of people don’t get the time to either give or recieve so we were all grateful to that.
The information she gave me?
“Get to Germany David, don’t let anything stop you, there is nothing holding you here”
Thanks Nan and Grandad…. I love you both