"When I was little, we would boil the kettle and my Nana and Grandad would appear as if they knew.
Black tea with no sugar, please, for the man who knows everything.
The ex-minister turned probation officer turned retired charity shop worker.
The man who helped, who cared, who made a difference to all of our lives.
I looked at him with awe; a real childhood hero.
Then I aged and he did too.
He came to pick me up for school, dropped my Mum off for work.
We’d have breakfast - cereal and marmite on toast - watch cartoons and then we’d go.
He’d walk me up and say goodbye,
On April Fools he told my friends that spiders rained down from the sky.
Then when I finished he was there, “cool” hat on in the winter air.
He’d always ask about my day - what did I learn? What do I want to do?
I like to think that he was proud of my answers.
There were walks after dinner and although I complained I grew to love those adventures.
My grandparents and me,
fresh air between the trees, the breeze.
Other times we stayed inside and played I-spy;
something beginning with “O”…. OINTMENT,
which I thought at the time was some invisible thing
he laughed and then every time we played he’d use that word on me.
When Grandad got ill with cancer, we’d visit all the time.
Everyone was worried but he fought the good fight.
I went to the toilets, there was blood in my pants.
My first glimpse of womanhood came the first time I was afraid of losing someone.
He had chemo, hair loss, was frail and sick… but he survived.
Started growing back his hair.
I spiked it up at his request - he walked around looking “trendy”.
There was always a silver lining.
I grew up some more - was no longer a child - and I got to see a different side of Grandad.
He was an intellectual, I thought, as he argued (or debated, as he’d probably say)
over rights and wrongs, times now gone, philosophy and life.
Writing strongly worded letters to the YEP about anything he read.
Mum said I got my argumentative side from him and I took it as a compliment.
The methodist turned atheist, the writer and the man.
To me he was no longer a childhood hero
he was a genuinely incredible person.
Isn’t that so much more impressive?
I got to be sixteen, a pretty troubling time.
Got locked out of a party, no shoes, no coat, no bag.
Marker pen upon my body, I walked in 3am rain not knowing where to go.
I ran to Nana and Grandad’s house and knocked upon their door.
I turned up drunk and a horrible mess but still they let me in, I woke them up.
He thought the writing on my skin was an act of hate,
because this darling Granddaughter is really truly gay.
He didn’t mind - he just wanted what was best for us.
My Mum came round to get me,
He provided his jacket and shoes.
I was embarrassed and ashamed,
but greatly thankful too.
He met one of my girlfriends,
said “when I was young I’d have gone for a girl like her”
(we all know that he did)
Talk about supportive.
When he met my lovely Gemma,
he asked her for a kiss.
Cheeky Mr. Grandad,
a man I’ll always miss.
We have to live our lives without him now
but I will still strive to make him proud. “