Goodbye Grandad, a reflection and poem

2004 - Grandad used to make these huge vanilla ice-cream cones we dubbed "cauliflower ice cream" due to how they looked!

My grandad passed away yesterday. I know this is not an unusual thing to happen, but I've never understood the magnitude of grief that comes with the death of a grandparent, or anyone, until now. He was my first relative that I knew in my lifetime to die. My other grandfather, Frank, went a few years ago, my grandmother's second husband who was my family for my whole life. But that was sort of different. He was sick for a while and we weren't as close as I was to my grandad Peter. I was used to him not being a constant presence in my life, and I had time to adjust to the prospect of his passing.

2007 - Grandad trying to teach me how to play the saxophone

I also lost my dogs, who were the lights of my life since I was a very little girl. That was, and still is hard. But they weren't human of course and not a strong support system to other people in my life, they were just my little loves. Other people have passed through my life and left my loved ones in mourning and I miss them, but I could only sympathize then. Now I can empathize, and it's not nice.

2010 - my cousin Amy's wedding

With my mother's father, he was very active and his death was very sudden. I was not ready for the loss of this great figure in my life. I was also not prepared for the loss my mum is experiencing, my dad's mourning not just for us but for himself, and my autistic brother's confusion with his own form of grief. It's been hard going through him bargaining, trying to reason with us to give him a date of when he will see grandad again. It's especially hard because I'm in a sort of denial myself.

2012 - my second cousin Ivy's 2nd Birthday

It can't be real, he'll walk through the door any moment, sit in his chair and tell us all to stop being bloody stupid. When I was holding his hand in the hospital I was yabbering on to him, talking to him about everything and anything. I talked about my life and my family, and my feelings towards his death. I was trying to make my peace and say goodbye while attempting to hold onto some normalcy. But the whole time I just wanted to shout at him to wake up and not leave us, I wanted to tell him he was too strong to go through all this nonsense. 

2016 - My cousin Kate's wedding

I wrote this just to vent, but if you've read it and got this far through, thank you. I hope it helped you in some way, maybe you can relate or it's helped you understand how someone else in your life may be feeling. 

Thank you grandad for being an amazing man to our family and me. Every time I look up at the stars I will think of Taurus the bull and remember you. I wrote you a poem to recite to you in the hospital, I hope you heard it and know how much I love you. 

The Strongest Man

He doesn’t lift weights, but he lifts our spirits with just a smile
Dad, Brother, Grandad, Peter
He doesn’t make speeches, but we all carry his words
The hardy trunk of our family tree

You’ll find him drill or drink in hand,
And lending the other to anyone who needs it.
A man with a tale as great as an old western,
Both which we shared from his arms and his chair

He built the house, he built our family.
A carpenter, a craftsman, a caring and grand-dad.
The strongest man built a tenacious love.
A fisherman, Mr fix-it, but most importantly, a friend.

Now the strongman has put down his tools.
It’s up to us to muster, and be as proud as Peter,
As tough as he, the strongest man.
The cheeky hero of our hearts.

He doesn’t lift weights, he doesn’t make speeches.
But his smile and his words we carry,
Just like his strength, we are his strength
Dad, brother, Grandad, Peter.


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