My grandpa died on Friday. He was 95 years old and quite a fella. You can read about him here: http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/2013/news/renowned-journalism-training-chief-dies-aged-95/
He’d been in a Kit-Kat coma for a few months prior to his death. That is to say, his sole focus was Kit-Kats and the consumption thereof. You’d go into the care home to visit him and he’d scan you from top to toe with his eyes, trying to work out where you’d hidden the little rectangle of joy.
My sister and I saw him the day before he died, which also happened to be his birthday. He had emerged from the Kit-Kat coma and moved into another place, far beyond us, somewhere out of the window.
“I’m waiting for my grand-daughters,” was the single coherent sentence he managed to utter.
“We’re here, Grandpa.”
His gaze shifted between my sister and me, then he said: “Help me.”
“What do you want help with, love?”
“…I don’t know.”
Seeing this erstwhile cigar-chewing, Pusser’s Rum-supping titan reduced to the husk which now sat before us was more distressing than hearing the news less than 24 hours later that he had died. It was, to quote a platitude, ‘a blessing’.
But in the days that have followed, I have wondered about my reaction to the demise of my much-beloved Grandpa. For I feel a kind of numbness when I think about his passing. As if my grief quota has been reached and I am no longer able to process any more sadness.
Yes, I cried. But they were tears for my Dad, for an era, lost. And for the fact that I believe he had waited for my sister and me in order to permit himself to be free.
One of the old boy’s stock phrases was; “And the point is…” followed by a statement which didn’t have a point. Strangely though, with his death I can almost feel my ‘And Your Point Is?’ carapace growing another layer.
I always envied Grandpa his toughness. Perhaps in way this is his bequest to me.