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My Grandfather died tonight. Gramps we called him. Dad called him Dad.

I found out when I was at Church, we were sitting in the office, Jo, Helen and I, having a chat and Mum called. She told me about Gramps. I wasn’t quite sure how to react. I was shocked perhaps, and upset. But I didn’t know the right way to go about things. I knew I didn’t want to react the same way I did when Grandma died. That I did inappropriately. I want to make jokes. I want people to laugh. I know there’s an emotional response that goes with a situation like death, and laughter seems the safest one. I didn’t make jokes though. I wanted to go home. My first thoughts were that I should be at home. I should be with my family.

I took my leave and headed home. Triple M got turned off as soon as I got in the car. Although “Easy” (if that’s what it’s called) by Faith No More was on the radio, and for the mood I was in it may have been the right song.

As I drove, the first people I thought of were my Dad, and Betty, my step-Grandmother. I guess I’m saddest for her, she has lost her second husband. Who’s going to be with her now?

My trip to New Zealand suddenly took on the significance I felt it should have had while I was over there. My last words suddenly meant something. God’s timing became apparent to me. I wasn’t going to go to visit him, but my God-feeling told me I should. It kept telling me, till I organised it. I couldn’t have gone at a better time. We could still talk, it was close to when he died. All his kids, and all his grandkids (except for Hannah) got to see him close to when he died.

I thought again about how everything in life, all the little things, lose significance in the face of death. But really, death only has significance because of life, and all the little things in it. I know it’s sappy but you’re allowed to be sappy at times like this.

When I got home I didn’t really want to go inside. I didn’t know what I would find. I would rather have stayed in the car at the bottom of the drive, bottled up any feelings, got on with life. If there’s anything I like to avoid in life it’s vulnerability. I went in though. I found only Mum (Rob was in my room on the computer), she asked me to drive her to my cousins house where my Dad was with his two sisters. We left Robert at home with Hannah.

On the way over Mum told me how he died. It was nice. Exactly how he would have wanted it, peaceful, proper, no fuss. He had dinner with Betty’s daughter and her fiancĂ©, remembered a word that no one else could (he liked doing that sort of thing), had some whisky and said “Good-bye” to them. Soon he slipped into unconsciousness, and a few hours later, with his wife by his side, her daughter and fiancĂ© there too, he died.

When we arrived at my cousins house I didn’t want go in. This time not because of me, but I didn’t know what I would find. I didn’t want to confront grieving people. But I went, Mum went with me.

Inside no-one was very happy. But they weren’t distressing. There were tears and hugs, and my Uncle was getting everyone cups of tea and biscuits, keeping himself busy. They all talked about Gramps, they talked about his day, and about how he was in recent weeks. Everyone seems pretty pleased with the way it had all happened, if pleased is the right word.

I’m glad I went in. I’m glad I sat there with my grieving family. It was nice. Everyone was so genuine. There was no pretending tonight. My family isn’t really big pretenders (expect perhaps Gramps who pretended he wasn’t dying and probably right now he’s pretending he’s not dead) but tonight was different. No-one needed to seem better or stronger than they were. I didn’t say much, but I’m glad I was there. I’m glad I was there with my Dad, who I love very much.

God blesses us so much. He even blesses us in death. My family has been so well looked after by God.

I’m not sure what I’m meant to feel now. On the way home I felt empty, like there was a hole, and something was meant to fill it, but I wasn’t sure what. Now, I’m not sure. I’m not sure where I am. I’m not sure if it’ll all suddenly hit me. Perhaps I’m most of the way through dealing with this. Perhaps I will cry, but that may never happen.

I feel like now I should talk about who my Grandfather was, and how important and wonderful he was. Because he was both those things. But I have nothing to say. He was a good man. He was a lovely man and a loved man. He is part of me, part of my father and part of my family.

Praise the Lord for Gramps.