My Grandad was one of the main influences in my life growing up, he had achieved so much in his life but his family was always highest in his priorities. We lost him when I was 17 to pancreatic cancer which despite numerous scans and tests was found too late, sadly the same year we lost my Great Grandad too which was his father in law, another of the main influences in my life. If I lost my Dad in the same year I don’t know what I would have done.
My Grandad was in the army, in the Coldstream Guards (the ones who protect the Queen), he was a fireman – top of his class and he was a paramedic. He was all those things but also a husband, a dad to four, and a great grandad to four – he would have been a great grandad to five. He lost his daughter to cancer when she was 17, lost his dad just before he got married, lost two sisters one at very young age.
This is my letter to him.
I hope wherever you are, you are safe and with our other loved ones – I know that Bean would be with you all the time because of how much you loved kids. I’m already crying as I write this but as you will know I think about you often. I also talk about you often to people about the things you did in your life or things you told me. Like “green is the colour of geniuses”! or the time you practically had to fireman lift me out of Oak Mount when I was doing my work experience because I really didn’t want to be admitted even though I was really poorly, or the fact you saw a chocolate shop in Belgium called Steffi’s and took a photo to show me.
You would have liked 00Steve, Nanna has practically adopted him as her own. Not that we realised this until we set our date but we got married on your wedding anniversary and then Lyra-Beth your eldest great granddaughter was born on it two years later. Jacob your youngest grandson is a lot like you, smiles a lot, likes music and even takes after you with being heavy set and broad shoulders.
I got into care not just because I enjoyed the work experience I did, but because I found it so hard to come visit you when you got sick, I couldn’t cope with the fact you were disappearing in front of our eyes from the chemo. There will be people in the same position as me and if I can care for their families and do what I couldn’t for you I felt it would somewhat make up for that. Or at least ease my conscious a little. When Nanna put the rose that bloomed on your tree in your coffin I wonder if you knew there was a poem from me in there? That Julie Marigold asked me to read back at the house, Dad found it far too hard and couldn’t read or hear it till the year after.
One of the only good things to come out of your hospital admissions was that I worked in the patients kitchens and could sneak you extra diabetic jellies and yogurts which I remember one guy loved – in fact on one of my admissions he was in again and I used to order them extra and give to him, he remembered you when I brought him the sneaky snacks.
I hope that you are proud of me for getting over my vanity for the sake of my health and having my ileostomy and that I’m not as stroppy a patient as I was in the past. I know you wouldn’t be as pleased with my tattoos though! Even more so as I have one for you, Dad and Bobby. I hope that by doing this blog and talking to people to help them through their tough times before surgery that again you would be proud of what I have achieved despite my own illness.
Love you forever and always