I lost a grandparent today and just needed to write something.
Time is tempered by the lifespans of man. So many notches on the tree of life are we, and little else. Yet, when the next generation, and the ones after them, and them, seek out the truths of the past in word and memory, they’ll find the truth in those carvings in the bark. We all leave them. His were just cut deeper than most.
I don’t have a good memory. I never have had. So why do I remember my Grandad’s final words with such clarity?
He was a proud man, my grandad. Even in the face of illness he never complained. Bronchitis had taken it’s toll on him, day by day, hour by hour, always a little worse. To see him coughing up blood in a rather dismal hospital room was unpleasant for us; far more so for he. I lingered at the back of our family’s small procession not wanting to be the first to talk. When the others turned and walked away, my mother included, I was left alone with that frail old man who had always been so kind to me. He tried to smile as he put his little beaker of blood-soaked phlegm to one side and beckoned me forward. He only said seven words.
“Look after your Nanna for me, Richard”
I can’t remember if I replied, it is a memory lost to time. But, I knew as I left him that I would never see my Grandad alive again.
They were the last words of a man who knew his time had come, but still gave thought only for his wife and Grandson. So I say again, why do I remember those last few words? Because, I too hope to be that sort of man when I leave this world. I think that would make him proud. I know it would me.