Dear Grandad

Dear Grandad,

It’s been a while since I’ve written to you. I’ve been busy you know, trying to figure out my writing career, returning home from Australia in the middle of a pandemic, getting used to being in London. You know, same old. How are you? Are you there? I’m still waiting for a bird to poop on my head so I know that’s your way of saying hi – it’s been a few years now, I’m still waiting.

Today has been hard. Actually no, the last few weeks have been hard, but I’ve done a great job of not really processing them and instead going out. I’ve actually booked a small trip to Wales where I can recharge my batteries and be around nature again.

Here’s the truth Grandad – tonight, more than other nights I’ve missed you. So much so, that there’s a genuine pain in my heart. They talk about a broken heart being a genuine thing don’t they. Mine broke when you left us, but I’ve been sticking the pieces back, little by little, in every country that I visited. It shattered though tonight, I don’t know why. I thought a good way of feeling better was to detail the reasons I miss you, despite the fact you’re probably shaking your head, saying “miss ME? Don’t be silly”. So here goes.

I miss you because of the easiness of the day.

I miss you because you listened, with thought and intent.

I miss you because you did so much.

I miss you because being with you gave me a sense of peace I hadn’t experienced before.

I miss you because you gave me a space I felt safe and secure in.

I miss you because when I was with you I believed everything would be okay.

I miss you because I didn’t have any worries other than you not listening to us telling you you weren’t superman and couldn’t carry furniture up the stairs at the age of 90+.

I miss you because you reminded me of my worth, without even telling me so.

Thing is Grandad, as much as I miss you, I’m also still hideously angry at you for leaving me. I can’t ask you for advice, or tell you where I’ve been adventuring to. I can’t believe I met a survivor of the Cambodian genocide and you weren’t here to hear my story. I can’t believe I’ve travelled to India by myself and I couldn’t ever show you the picture I took of the Taj Mahal in the EXACT place you took it decades before, when you were stationed there.

We’ve had a pandemic Grandad. The world has lost its normal and has replaced it with a “new” normal that feels wrong. The truth is though, my “new” normal came way before this pandemic, when you left us, and I’ve been battling with it ever since. I’ve done well you see, at accepting life for what it is now. Tonight was just one of the nights I refused to believe that what happened, happened. I got angry. I felt this pain I’ve suppressed for a while take over and choke me again. It’ll lose its grip, it eventually does, but its grief isn’t it. It’s always there, out of sight, ready to take hold of you when you least expect it. Until then, hopefully I’ll see you in one of my many vivid dreams – unless you manage to come back as a pooping pigeon, although really I’d prefer a butterfly because I’ve just washed my hair.

I wish you were here, Grandad.

Keep watching over me, please.

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