Love you, Grandpa

Today the world lost a great man.

My grandpa.

I think most people probably think their grandparents are wonderful, my Grandpa really was. So many of my childhood memories are tied up in my Grandparents; in family holidays and day trips and school holidays spent playing hide and seek in their big farmhouse and so many of them, particularly from the first 8 or 9 years of my life are tied up in my Grandpa.
I remember the way he smelt, of cigarette smoke and outdoors and of home; I remember the way his arms would fold around me as I clambered onto his lap, the way his whiskers tickled my face as he kissed me; I remember squealing with laughter as he scraped his beard across my face, chin pie; I remember how he'd always greet me with a 'well then Josephine, what's new' and how his eyes crinkled as he smiled; I remember how he'd always fall asleep and how we'd all fall about laughing til he opened one eye 'I'm not asleep, I'm just resting my eyes'; I remember sing-alongs on long car journeys; I remember his scrambled eggs; I remember my hand in his slightly calloused one; I remember the way him and my Granny would bounce off one another telling stories of my Mum's childhood, how those stories always made me laugh; I remember him telling jokes, his comic timing making even the worst Christmas cracker joke funny; I remember New Year's parties and how he'd kid us we couldn't leave until the massive feast had been finished; I remember pulling on my wellies to follow wherever he went; I remember his patience; I remember thinking right up until now that he was the cleverest wisest man I ever met, and the bravest. I remember loving him so much when I was small that I felt my heart would burst and feeling so lucky now as an adult for having him for as long as I did; I remember visiting him in hospital two weeks ago and him squeezing my hand and telling me he loved me and how even then when he was so weak how he still seemed so strong; I remember him chatting with Ian and how I felt so proud.

It doesn't seem real somehow, to think that he's gone, that I'll never hear him laugh, or smile as him and my Granny griped at each other in the way you only can after a lifetime of love, or talk to him about his life before I was even born, it doesn't seem real that he's gone and yet it hurts so much, I know what he'd say to me though, if he could. He'd smile and he'd say 'Chin up' and I'd smile through my tears, so that's what I'll do.

Chin up, he's just resting his eyes.