In the early hours of Thursday morning, my grandad died. He was in his 80s, and it wasn’t unexpected, and – thankfully – he was healthier than many others for much of his life. And yet, and yet… still a sad time.
It’s odd, to think about grandparents, given how much they shaped your life long before you were born and yet how removed they are – growing up in another time, another world. It wasn’t until today that I thought that, of course, in my full name I’m actually named after George. And it’s indirect, and fragmentary, but I do feel I can trace parts of me back to him – in who he was, and what he did.
Not in a literal sense, of course: as a working-class builder from Suffolk, he had both the practical skills to do what I still refer to as a ‘proper job’ and the countryside nous to grown his own food in the garden. (Reflect, sadly, that my version of this amounts to cooking my own packets of Dolmio pasta in the microwave.) As a father to my dad, though, he let him make his own decisions – encouraging and supportive – and never became a figure of fear. That’s an ethos that I grew up with, too.
So, goodbye, and thanks
(The funeral’s on Friday – it’ll be good to see family.)