Friday, October 15, 2010

Matters of death

Yes, okay a bit of a morbid title there, but that's just where my head is at the moment. I sort of fell off the grid for a few days, see I received a phone call on Tuesday morning to inform me that my grandfather had passed away. Even when it's expected and I daresay even hopefully anticipated, it still knocks you out for six, doesn't it? Mr S. offered to come home when I rang him, but frankly I just needed time to cry my eyes out, which I proceeded to do. For the day. And a bit of Wednesday, too.

In Finland these things take a while longer than they do in Ireland. Which is good, because otherwise I wouldn't have had a hope in hell of making it home in time for the funeral. I mean, here they seem to bury you before you're gone cold, where as back home it's usually a week, sometimes even more before the burial.
There's loads to organise and I wonder whether that's just to keep the immediate family occupied. I dreaded going into work on Thursday, but frankly I was delighted once I got there. First of all, I was once again reminded of how lovely my work mates really are. And second of all, I was able to keep myself busy, and keep out of my head. And those around me have truly kept me in great spirits, and for that a heartfelt thanks to all of them, even though I doubt many of them are reading this blog but I'm going to put it out there regardless.

So I fly home on Wednesday, funeral is on Thursday and I fly back on Sunday. That gives me few days to touch base with my family, and to be there for my mum.

A few words about my grandfather. He was 87 and he fought in the second World War. Him and my grandmother got divorced when they realised they were much happier apart. My grandfather had "girlfriends", fair play to the man, and on one memorable Christmas he lamented on the fact how his relationship with his special lady friend had turned platonic since his doctor had forbidden him from taking Viagra on account of his pacemaker. He was 83 years of age at the time. He was complaining only last month that there weren't any women in the nursing home where he was so well looked after until the very end. He said he didn't like being cooped up with "these old men". He was the second oldest resident at the time, only being beaten by a man of 89 years of age.

He was always well groomed, his hair styled and plenty of aftershave on. He was a great dancer, and loved telling stories. He lived for his children (5), his grandchildren (9) and great-grandchildren (9) and never failed to hammer home the importance of a good education, something he never had but which never stopped him from getting places in his working life. He always spoke of the importance of having a mate, a companion in life. He believed nobody should be alone, and that there was someone out there for everyone. He hated smoking and smokers, but never voiced his opinion in the presence of a smoker. He was a hard worker and never turned down a neighbour, friend or family member in need. He was my grandad.

The photo below was taken on his 85th birthday, and the lady with him is a lovely woman who was his "special companion" for 16 years.

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