Clifford Hope

Grief is no stranger to me. Grief is a quiet friend that reminds me of the harsh reality of life. When I saw my mums name on my phone at 9:24pm on Saturday night, I knew what the call would be about. I knew there was a reason my grandad had been on my mind for the past few days. I just knew. I’m not always the best at talking about things that sadden me, so here I am, my safe spot.

Losing a loved one when you’re not with your loved ones is quite rough. My heart breaks to think of my grandma, an incredibly tough woman who has just lost her life partner of over 60 years. I’ve always known them as Grandma and Grandad. The duo, the team, the two that kick started the whole family.

My heart goes out to my aunties and uncles who have just lost their dad, a man who was a very good dad. He comforted, supported and encouraged them to do whatever makes them happy. Happiness is and always has been the number one rule of the family.

And to those who thought that they would see him again, I hope you can find peace in knowing that your last conversation or time spent with him was still worth it. It still has value and would’ve meant a lot to him.

I returned home in December after 3 years of being away. I knew that it would’ve been the last time I would see him. He was weak and bedridden in his home at the time. I went upstairs and sat next to him in his bed, he woke up, smiled and said “Oh hello love” in his husky old man voice. We proceeded to chat for over half an hour about my ankle injury, horses, love life, being back home etc. I showed him pictures of my home in Australia, he asked me if I was happy there. I said “Yeah I am, it’s hard at times but I am happier there”.

He responded with “You wouldn’t come back here would you?”

I shook my head and said “I don’t think I could live here again. I’d come back for a visit, but I couldn’t live here permanently.”

He nodded and said “You’d just come back for friends and family wouldn’t you?”

I held back the tears and nodded.

“Aye, I understand you weren’t happy here. You’ve got to do what makes you happy right love”.

I could see he was getting tired, so I began to wrap up the conversation and told him that I would leave him to it so he could rest. I got up and he said to me “You know your dad would be so proud of you. Really, he would.”

I sat back down and held his hand as I sobbed. I gave him a nod to say thank you and he nodded back as if to say you’ll be alright.

I think that’s what hurt the most. Mentally he was still grandad, but physically he was a very old grandad, and I think he knew that. I think there was relief for the both of us in seeing each other again, but I think we both knew it would be the last time we would see each other.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully explain the love I have for my family. It’s a feeling that you receive and give back. It’s wholesome and warm, but it’s also tough and strong. I am proud to come from the family that I do.

I am grateful to have had a grandad that let my creativity run wild, that always supported me from the sidelines and who loved me unconditionally.

This is for all the grandads past and present who are the wise men of the family.

To the grandads that are a warm hug.

To the grandads that still make the effort to try and keep up with their kids and their grandkids.

Here’s the grandads who stepped up to be father figures when it was needed.

To the grandads who still can behave rebelliously.

And here’s to the grandads that make a family a family.

You are appreciated.

Rest in peace grandad.

Sending my love to you all,

Emma xo