No matter how much we plan things in life, some things we can never plan for. This week, I should have been in Strasbourg, I should have been enjoying my year abroad. But instead, I have been witnessing Britain’s cold snap...the –too much temperatures and the excessive snow that make England stop, school shuts, transport breakdown and just generally cause chaos. There is a reason I’ve been home, that reason being the sad loss of my Grandad. Leslie Cook Wilson, 2nd July 1938- 21st November 2010. I love you, and I miss you. I’m sorry I never got to say goodbye.
When I left for Strasbourg 3 months ago, I knew he was poorly. But what you have to understand is my Grandad has been ill for years, and he’s always handled his illness, as my Dad said at his funeral, with such dignity. I think whilst I knew he wasn’t well, I didn’t think I would never see him again. I would have loved just to see him one more time, and up until the moment I found out he was gone I completely thought he would still be around at Christmas when I got home. It feels so unreal. Watching his coffin be lowered into the ground and throwing that flower down after him were harder than I could ever have imagined. Watching my Dad be sad is so hard too. I wish you were still here, Grandad.
But I know deep down he is not in pain any more. He’s in a better place. I’ll see him again one day and I’ll give him that hug I feel like I’ve missed out on. He’s a part of me, and he was amazing.
My Grandad was so generous. Every time I went to see him (which was a lot, I went every week for lunch with my Grandparent’s whilst I was at college), he would always slip a few pounds my way. It was so lovely, and so funny, he would always sneak it into my hand when giving me a kiss and say ‘Don’t tell you mother’ (by which he meant your Grandmother). He truly believed that my Nan, who is the most amazing and savvy person ever, hadn’t worked out that he used to slip us money, despite the fact that she was the one that went to the bank to get the money! Nanny was telling me this week how Grandad always used to moan that he didn’t have any money and say that he didn’t know why, and she would be like hummm I wonder....
Another thing I always remember from my Grandad was him wheeling me, David and Hannah around the garden in his wheelbarrow. He was so much fun. I remember how good he was with his hands, he used to be a bricklayer, and how when he couldn’t do things any more, he still knew exactly how my Dad should do it, and he would tell him! I feel privileged to have spent a lot of time alone with him, and I’ll never forget the war stories he told me and the things he chose to share with me, even when sharing them got a bit difficult. Between his thick Scottish accent and his sometimes a little slurred speech he wasn’t always the easiest to understand, but it was a pleasure and a privileged to talk to him. Every week when I went to see him, he would tell me I was a breath of fresh air. Although, on occasions, this didn’t come out right, and he would say I was a breath of wind. He was so funny.
Apparently he used to say ‘if the crew’s ok, I’m ok’. That sounds like something he would say. Grandad, you’d be loving the snow, and you’d have loved us all being together this week. I wish I could have seen you again, I know you asked about me all the time, and I am proud to be your Grand daughter. I love you, and I’m so sad you’re gone. I’ll miss you, but until I see you again, I’ll be thinking of you, I hope I make you proud. Rest in Peace.