We only saw my grandparents about twice a year, and recently I was often busy when we visited so it was really only once a year. On these occasions it felt like a duty visit - me and Simon didn't really know how to have a conversation with Grannie and Grandpa, and they weren't really sure how to talk to us, so we tended to sit and read the paper or talk to each other while our parents made conversation, and we were both glad when we got to go home. So although I loved them obviously, I wasn't at all close to them. Plus, Grandpa got cancer a few years ago and recently it had got much worse as it started spreading, so we all knew he was going to die sooner or later, and when we visited just before Christmas it was very clear that this would happen within the next two weeks because he basically looked like a living dead person. I've therefore not been at all upset since he died on Friday.
However, I was talking to mum just now and felt quite emotional talking about funerals. I have to do the Bible reading on Saturday and I thought I'd have no problem with it but I'm worrying now that I'll cry! This is silly as I've read loads in church before and I'm not nervous about it; it's not even an emotional reading, but I'm worried that I won't be able to do it without wobbling. Mine is the first reading though so I'll just try to hold it together until I've finished. It's weird, I'm not sure exactly why I'll be crying even...currently I feel sad but not necessarily all about Grandpa. I think it's the thought of my parents dying - mum was telling me about all the things they've been doing like sorting out the will and the trust and phoning the utility companies, and I was just thinking about when I'll have to do all that. I don't know how I'll be able to live without my parents and I really don't want to think about that anymore.
Moving on...I've also been having fond memories of when I was little and I used to spend a few days with my grandparents every summer. I remember Grandpa took me to St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey one day - we went up into the whispering gallery in St Paul's, and saw where all the famous people are buried in the Abbey. We then had a baked potato at a cafe in the basement of a Methodist church - for some reason I remember this really clearly! I also remember helping in the garden lots - Grandpa grew vegetables and I used to pick beans etc. I have a picture of me up a step ladder picking them, wearing the most awful turquoise denim shorts! I remember being very upset when I had to go home because I'd had such a good time, and crying because one day my grandparents would die and I wouldn't see them again - it's odd that this closeness disappeared.
Grandpa was an amazing person and had such a great life. I don't know all that much about it but I've been told some things. He helped with the development of radar during the war, and had to postpone his degree when war broke out. He went back to university at Cambridge after the war, and because he was married to Grannie by then he took his degree in 2 years instead of 3, presumably so that he could start earning more money, and got a double first...pretty impressive really! I know he was managing director of a company but I'm not sure what the company was...I think they made kitchenware though as mum has red-handled knives which I think came from him. After he retired he and Grannie were always going on holiday all over the world. He used to read lots of factual books and knew all about paintings and history. He also played Bridge and was extremely good at it - I guess the kind of brain that gets a double first at Cambridge is the kind of brain that is also good at Bridge! He and Grannie were so kind and generous to all their friends and relatives - they even adopted a girl who came from a bad background at one point and turned her life around.
However, I think the most amazing thing about Grandpa, and Grannie too actually, was that they were very happily married for 62 years. They met during the war - it's such a romantic story! My Grannie was on a walk and got lost, and she and her friend decided their only option was to knock on the door of a nearby house. A young man answered the door, and Grannie knew that day that she was going to marry him. 62 years, 4 children, 10 grandchildren and a wonderful life later they were still sleeping in the same bed. I think this is one of the most amazing things I've ever heard and I can only hope I find anything that comes close to a love like that. Love is about endurance, strength and companionship and they just illustrated that so well. I can't begin to imagine how Grannie is feeling now - if I was her I just wouldn't know how to even begin carrying on.
Right, I'm going to stop rambling now having written all this down. I'm just going to hope and pray that I can get through Saturday ok and get my reading out. Actually it should be a rather nice occasion, with the whole family there, and it's intended to be a celebration of his life. We're going to Guido's restaurant afterwards which is where we've had various wedding anniversary and birthday parties that Grandpa hosted, and there's going to be champagne flowing all day! I'd be really grateful if people could think of me on Saturday, and think of my Grandpa too - even though you didn't know him he was definitely one of the better people in this world and he could teach us all what love is about.
I'm off to find a box of tissues! I thought I'd finish with my reading. I don't know which version we're having, but this is the Revised Standard Version.
John chapter 14, verses 1 to 6.
Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me."