My Granddad was a great man; there are no other words to describe him! He was both gentle and generous, with impeccable manners and kindly disposition! He was, in short – knightly!
Sadly, on Tuesday of this week, he was lost to us and to the world – somehow the sun now doesn’t seem quite so bright. But I would rather celebrate his life than dwell in words of sadness.
A light shines despite the shadow and heaven cries not, for now it be graced by the greatest of the good! And to each year a gift was given and with smiles my heart be filled with love.
Last week, for the first time ever, I published excerpts from Me, My World and I. Today, I will honour my Granddad by publishing a full chapter!
1909 was written for my Granddad, and while on reflection, it carries some sadness – it seems a fitting and respectful way to show my great pride in the man I considered my best friend.
My Granddad treated the world as if it was his family and they responded with love. If I could be only half the man he was, I would be a better man by far!
Before sharing the poem and chapter with you, I would like to thank all those who have tweeted with their kind support, I am so very grateful.
Black and white to colour fades,
A heart beats while time moves on.
This life well lived now just lingers.
He mourns a moment,
For the moment’s gone.
Looking back through life’s adventure,
In his prime, when once he shone.
Souvenirs of life’s fond memories,
And still he mourns,
For those moments gone.
As when young, now still he dreams,
With moments still to call upon.
For in these dreams, he is a young man,
He mourns not moments,
For no moment’s gone.
My paternal grandfather was born in the September of 1909, and as I write, he is in the year of his 103rd birthday.
In 1910, Thomas Edison demonstrated the world’s first motion picture, and in 1911, for the first time, cars had electric ignitions. Believe it or not, it wasn’t until 1913 that the crossword puzzle was invented and women started to wear bras. I can’t even imagine how men spent their spare time before then.
By the time my granddad had reached his sixteenth birthday, canned beer was on the shelves. And within a few years, we had ballpoint pens. By the time he was my age, he had seen two world wars and the invention of jet engines, Teflon, atomic bombs, and microwave ovens.
He witnessed the birth of modern aviation, space travel, and computer technology – all while eating innovations in fast food and watching television.
These days, of course, we think nothing of frying our food in our Teflon coated frying pan or drinking a can of beer while watching a live football match from the other side of the planet. We take for granted our holidays in the sun and think nothing of the satellites that deliver entertainment to our front rooms. We complete crosswords with ballpoint pens, and we know nothing of air raids, ration books, or blackouts.
He has lived through a truly historic era, a golden age of invention and scientific advance. I wonder how many inventions and events during my lifetime will – sixty years from now – be seen in quite the same light.
I have a really hard time coming to terms with just how quickly life is passing me by. Even at forty-two, there is a real feeling of chapters ending way faster than I would like. But then I spare a thought for my granddad and how little life must seem to offer.
I can’t imagine how it must feel to know that nearly everything is behind you. Of course, nobody knows how many tomorrows will come, but at 102, you are probably sure that there are not as many as you would like. I believe in God, and I believe in life after death … but I am not ashamed to admit that I fear death and its cloak of great uncertainty. I love life and am sure that, if faced with my grandfather’s predicament, I would surely go mad with fear.
I know that my granddad spends a lot of time looking back, and I am not sure which is more cruel: being able to remember or (as with my maternal grandmother) being robbed of all that has been. What I do know is that, when dreaming, we are all still young. And when lost in slumber, I am sure my granddad is still enveloped in life’s great adventure.
I don’t want to feel sorry for my granddad. He has lived a very full and active life, he has known love, and he has known happiness. I want him to go on and live forever, I want him to always be that great man I grew up thinking of as my best friend. I do feel sorrow at his passing years, though, and I do wish sometimes that time would just stand still. That’s not to say it’s all selfish on my part. My sadness stems more from the fear of how he must now feel than of my fear of losing somebody very dear.
I console myself with the hope that, in his dreams, he finds contentment. And I know in my heart that his wife is waiting, and that too will make him very happy. She has waited a very long time, but I hope she won’t mind waiting at least a little longer.
Of course, my granddad’s life has been far more than just a sum of his experiences. He was a brother, a devoted husband, and a father. He is a loved and much respected grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather. Over the years, he has touched lives and become a friend to many.
Perhaps that’s the point. Life is not just about what we do, but also about the legacy we leave behind. My granddad is one of the last remaining sentinels of a bygone era. His polite language and sunny manner is a shining beacon in a time when such virtues seem to have been lost. Perhaps my concern should be less for the time I may have left and more for the impression I may one day leave behind.
This poem is dedicated to my granddad and the massive part he has played in my life. I give him these words, and I do so with love.
Rest peacefully Granddad, you live on always in my heart xxx