Friday 31 December 2010

My letter to Grandpa

This was read at the start of his funeral yesterday. In a case of amazing fate or karma - the poem is the one that the priest chose to read at the end of her sermon. Sheer coincidence but it seems surreal that out of all the millions of suitable poems and the fact that I actively looked for something that was more Humanist than Christian, that we both chose this one... She repeated the last four lines at the end of the sermon.
Dear Grandpa,

I am sorry I couldn't make it. I have thought of you daily since moving away but I know that you understand and the regret I have will live with me every day.

Every time Monkey talks to our elderly neighbour  I wish it was you he was talking to. I wish you could have met him and made him special toys, like you did for me. It would have made me laugh myself silly to hear you teaching him to make turkey noises. He would have loved that! But Monkey knows you  - although he does refer to you as Mummy's friend Gramps. He knows you are an important part of his family. Monkey will always know you.

I remember how you took on more than a grandfather role in my life - in your own way you became my dad. You taught me so much, some things I am sure you didn't intend to teach me, but I learnt them... You are the reason why I am the crazy lady testing the flexibility of cucumbers in the produce section and the reason I refuse to call them telegraph cucumbers!

You were there for me throughout my childhood, a shining example of work ethic and patience. I always knew you loved and supported me.  Once when I was little and got yelled at,  I  hid under the guest room bed. You came to look for me and crawled under the bed with me. It made me feel so special that you would take the time to come and soothe my hurt feelings.

And the day you went swimming at Herold's Bay and took out your false teeth - I thought you had lost your teeth in the WW2 as well as your leg! But that leg didn't slow you down! I remember all the walks to Voelklip and being amazed at how fast you could walk on crutches. With so many wonderful memories, you will be part of my life forever.

Grandpa, I hope that you are at peace and are sitting on a stoep/porch in  a rocking chair with Granny.
I love you Grandpa!

To Mom, S--- and all my extended family, I would like to leave you with the words of David Harkins:
He is gone
You can shed tears that he is gone
Or you can smile because he has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left
Your heart can be empty because you can't see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
David Harkins

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Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I try to reply to as many as I can either here or by email. <3 LJx