For some people, today could have just been the same old ordinary day. I never forget what 21 May is. I see 13-year-old me in high school. I see a girl eating her dinner and watching a member of staff approach her, to then be asked to head to the school reception with my coat and my bag.
That girl was me and I had never been so suspicious before to know what was happening in a situation. If I was asked to go to reception and was simply handed a document for a class, or be asked to take part in something, I wouldn’t think anything of it. However, this was different.
I noticed that my dad was stood by reception. Okay, I didn’t forget my lunch and if I did, I wouldn’t have expected dad to bring it all the way here. I didn’t have a dentist appointment. I have class in about 10-15 minutes.
Dad would hardly say a word, a member of staff told me to go to the car with my dad. In my head I was questioning why, but I hadn’t seen my dad lost for words before. When I got into the car, my brother, Phil was already in there. He was another one who was silent. Not a single word.
So now I begin to worry.
Is it mum? Is she okay?
Dad’s impression told me that it wasn’t mum.
Grandad? What’s happened to grandad?
Dad’s look instantly made my heart drop. The car was moving but everything else froze. Dad didn’t want to go into too much detail because I think he knew how sensitive I would be, especially remembering how much I cried over granny passing away five years prior to this.
I was just about getting to grips with the fact that granny wasn’t here anymore. I was growing up and wanted grandad to be the one to see me get those grades, win awards, and make at least one of the proud of me. Grandad was always in the audience wherever I was.
When granny passed away I struggled to learn my lines for Easter play in primary school, which was taking place two months after we heard the news. I cried a lot – in front of family, friends, and alone. I was always focused so this was the first occasion where I didn’t know how to feel like a happy child again.
Knowing grandad was there helped a lot. He came to the Easter play and as soon as I spotted him, I told myself I’ll be okay saying my lines.
But when it came to events in high school later on throughout year 8 and further on, I couldn’t find him. I didn’t forget his face or the way he would smile the way he did whenever he saw me or my brothers, but he wasn’t sat on a chair at the back of the room. That made things difficult for me.
Grandad always knew that science was my weakest subject and how I wanted to learn more about history but struggled to remember a lot of important dates of events. Did grandad have to be history now? That’s something I couldn’t accept.
There were too many things, likewise with granny, that we wanted him to do and see with us yet. He didn’t get the opportunity to see Phil once he had finished his GCSEs and he didn’t get discuss the football with Gaz. The thing that hurt the most was that, my grandad and I had spoken on the phone a couple of nights before to say I’d be coming down to this house on the weekend.
I love you millions.
Those words are so important to me. Not just because they say I love you, but because with millions on the end, it told me that grandad was the one telling me he loved me. He always said that to me, and he said it at the end of our telephone conversation.
As much as I wanted grandad to see me grow up more – he already seen a glimpse of it happening. He saw the transition from primary school to high school. He seen that I could take the bus by myself, just like when I visited him in hospital.
He knew how much I love to keep a house clean and tidy, even if it meant doing his washing and pots. He knew I would go shopping for him and get everything I could on the shopping list. He knew I would take Sheba for a walk without being asked to.
The biggest thing of all that I can undoubtedly say is that, he knew no matter much older I got, through teenage mood swings and new friendships, I always needed him. He knew I could trust him. I told him things that I hadn’t told anyone before then and I spoke about things I was scared about. He always found a way to comfort me and take anything away that didn’t cause me happiness.
He would take anyone’s pain away from them. I just hope that he wasn’t in any pain when he passed away.
You see, this day was an ordinary day for him. Watched all the comedy he did on the comedy channels on television, probably some police investigation documentaries in there too, and eaten his tea. But he didn’t know that this would be a sleep that he wasn’t going to wake up from this time like any other day.
It kills me to even imagine how my mum felt when she found him. To be talking away telling him to get up, drawing the blinds open to let some light in, to figure that something was different. She walked up to him by his bed, looked at him properly as she felt his hand. Stone cold. She must have felt so empty and heartbroken. No matter how stubborn grandad was, he always brought the light into our lives. Our sunshine was no longer breathing.
Although he’s not been with us physically since 2007, he’s always lived on in our thoughts.
Grandad, I know I don’t have you to told my hand and tell me it’s going to be okay. I understand why you wanted me to go on the Pepsi Max for the first time, but if it wasn’t for you telling me to, I never would have, and probably never would have begun to go on more and more rollercoasters.
I’ll always be the girl you knew, who would sit there with you tickling my arm, no matter how old I was or who was in the room.
We are all doing well. I’m now, what seems to be my dream job, and I have you to thank for that. You might not understand because you haven’t been here for ten years. But I know you’re partly the reason I am where I am today.
You helped me grow. You took me on adventures. You taught me to be stronger. And you gave me a better understanding of the importance of health and wellbeing (even when you did disobey the rules).
You were in inspiration and you are my inspiration today, and tomorrow.
I hope you and granny enjoyed mine and Daniel’s visit today. I’ll be running for you next Sunday in the Great Manchester Run, I hope you’ll be looking down on me. I want to do something to fight coronary heart disease, for you. I will make it to the finishing line whether I’m running, walking, or hopping.