A Trip Down Memory Lane: Grandad

I looked at the frail form lying so still on the hospital bed. Tears threatened to fall. I blinked them back, but they wouldn’t have it. I let them come. This was it – time to say my last goodbye to my dear, dear grandad.

I held his hand, savouring the life still there. I like to think he knew I was by his bedside, even though his eyes were clasped shut as if they’d never open again and there was a hollowness to his cheeks where life was seeping out. I hope he knew that I wouldn’t let him go without saying goodbye.

I told him that I loved him and that I always would. At the age of 93 he’d told me to make sure I never grew up. ‘Life is too short,’ he always said, ‘you have to enjoy it, savour every moment of it, have fun and always remember to laugh.’

I’d rung him every day for years. One of us always said something to make the other laugh. How I’d miss that daily phone call.

Though I’d have plenty of warm memories – of Grandad letting me eat the skin from the top of the custard even though it was his favourite, of being allowed to spend hours in his tool shed banging and bashing about and watching him make up the fire on a cold winter’s day.

We became even closer when my adult years came. He was so proud of me when I took a job at a local bank and that proudness was reflected in his eyes when he held his granddaughter in his arms for the first time.  

As I looked down at that hospital bed, I promised Grandad that I’d never forget him and that I’d never grow up. I promised him that I’d enjoy life, savour every moment of it, have fun and always remember to laugh. I let go of his hand and my heart felt as if it would break. I pushed the chair back and stood up, my entire being fighting against the urge to stay, to not let him go. My legs found movement and I walked towards the door.

I turned back, my heart in my mouth and my breathing raw and ragged. ‘Goodbye, Grandad, goodbye,’ I whispered.

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to carry out those promises. I didn’t feel as if life would ever be the same again.

But time heals. The world moves on. Twelve years later and my promise has been firmly kept. My nineteen-year-old daughter rolls her eyes at me, but I keep urging her to follow Grandad’s advice. Somewhere, I’m sure he’s doing the very same.

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26 Responses to A Trip Down Memory Lane: Grandad

  1. Sad memories can also be wonderful memories, Esther.

  2. Darlene says:

    How wonderful to have had such a great relationship with your dear grandfather. A bittersweet post.

  3. Simon says:

    That was very emotional and very powerful… I felt every word.

  4. Paul Mastaglio says:

    Lovely memory, Esther. Wise words from Grandad.

  5. sarianladyaolcom says:

    What a blessing to have experienced such a close relationship and making your readers feel the emotion

  6. fenlandphil says:

    You had a wonderful Grandad.
    I remember a time when I was about seven or eight, my grandad was in the small lean-to greenhouse at the back of his shed, he had a watering can in his hand. I said to him, “What’s it like being retired, Grandad?”
    He turned to me and said,
    “Son I don’t know how I found the time to go to work.”

    A few years ago my oldest daughter asked me, “Dad are you ever going to grow up?”
    I replied, “I’ve dodged it so far.”

  7. Ritu says:

    Oh, how precious. Hold on to those memories and thoughts, Esther x

  8. It reminds me of myself and my 10 year old granddaughter, we have the same bond. I always pray that I will be around for her for a long while yet.

  9. Marsha says:

    Oh my gosh, I felt like my heart was going to break, Esther. It felt so fresh that I thought he had just died. I remember feeling the same way when my grandpa was sick and dying. So sad, yet they have made a lasting impact on your life that you will never outgrow. Gorgeous writing, Esther. 🙂

  10. Rae Longest says:

    This was lovely. Thanks for sharing.
    I called my grandfather Grandad also. He was 6’2″ tall, and my favorite picture of us is one Easter morning, dressed for church. He is in a three piece suit, vest and all, and I am holding out the edges of my Easter dress like I am about to curtsey. He was so tall, and I was so tiny when I was six, so we make quite a pair in the picture. I wish I knew what became of the picture.

  11. Oh gosh, I’ve got tears, hard to read–such a beautiful tribute, what a wonderful granddad–and what great advice, to “never grow up”!

  12. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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