“Write your own eulogy.“
This one has come at a rather convenient time for me personally, as I lost my granddad, 82-years old, one week ago today.
I read today’s prompt a few hours ago and, knowing what I wanted to write about, my next thought became; ‘What does eulogy mean?‘. I’ll admit I had to Google it to read the definition on Wikipedia. Now, my memory of that has gone! But, I think I have enough of a clue to be able to write something, without resorting to the usual ‘Dearly beloved,we are gathered here today…‘ routine.
This is about my granddad and some of the memories I hold on to.
Going back in my mind as far as I can, I can recall spending several summers with them in the caravan down in Weymouth. There were days spent at the local Sea-Life Centre, on another day I think we went to a fairground, I can remember being at a beach (I have photographs to support that) and, one year, we even went to an air show (although, that may have been a different day on a separate occasion). When I was a child, my granddad always made a great effort with both myself and my sister (even though, I can’t recall a time where she headed south with us). When I was in my teens, he used to suggest the same ideas from time to time but, by then, I was, well, adolescent and dealing with a lot of other things… How would’ve my classmates have reacted had I told them that I’d spent my summer with two OAPs? If I could go back now with this same frame of mind then, yes, I’d do it because, deep down, I think I’ve always regretted disappointing him and keeping my distance.
We’ve always lived in a small village fifteen-miles away from his home, where my mother also grew up. Getting across Bristol to see him has often felt like a chore; regardless of the fact that I regularly go out for drives now (with or without a walk) of greater distance without giving it much of a second thought. With them and their age, coming to see us is a different story. I’d worry that he may not arrive and I’d worry about him not arriving home, each time he left.
He was never short of a bad joke yet, because of the way he tells them, you couldn’t stop yourself from laughing. It didn’t matter how many times I’d heard it before or even when I knew the answer upon hearing his first word; it would make me laugh in a way that no-one else truly does or has done. At home (ours or theirs), we’d do little else besides sit around the kitchen table and talk. He was always curious, encouraging and supportive to towards my own interests and lent me a large helping hand when I enrolled on my first college course. Come to think of it, he might be the only person (certainly of the males) I’ve known in the last eight-years who hasn’t told me to cut my hair… He could be stubborn at times and, like many from his generation, a little racist but, he was almost always accepting of family.
His loss came as a shock to us all; taken in to hospital on a night when snow began to blanket the south-west. By the morning, his condition had only worsened and yet, living where we are, several inches of snow were preventing us from making the twenty-mile journey to be at his side through his final moment. He’s passed on. He can rest now and I get to say my own goodbyes on Thursday morning. He was my only granddad but the only one who I could ever need.
I wish I had the composure to write a poem right now. Hopefully that’ll come in a few days. I wish these photos were my own. Perhaps I should try and spend some time down in Weymouth.
I’ve no idea whether I’ve actually written a eulogy or not. Tears fell as I reached the last paragraph. One thing I do know is that I’ll not be able to write anything like this when my own father passes. I’ve lost the most important man in my life and nobody can replace him.
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