Last week I booked a last-minute flight to London to see my Grandpa in hospital. After several more nights of having his family around his bedside, he died peacefully on Wednesday morning at the age of 92. He was an enormously kind and gentle man. When I let my mind drift, all the memories which come back are of someone chuckling, guffawing (especially in the cinema… the makers of Wimbledon have a lot to answer for) or of good-natured flirting with anyone who crossed his path. His main fault was an inexplicable admiration for Ronald Reagan, but he was generous to dissenters. He’d just smile, enjoying the commotion. We always felt safe.
Despite the sadness, being home has of course been lovely in all sorts of other ways. I ate a gargantuan number of sausages with Cat and Matt, before laughing at hours of YouTube mystery unboxing videos. I caught up with Josh for drinks so we could cross-check our life plans. Tash cooked an amazing pie for the family, while Katie drove me and Tash home from the hospital one night… I hope we were helpful without our constant reminders not to hit things. (She did not hit any things.)
I’ve extended my stay for another week for the funeral on Friday, and Randi is flying out to join us. But before that, there are a few loose ends which deserve an outing on this blog! For example, our trip to Dune Park in Indiana two weekends ago was delightful: we packed a picnic lunch and set off from Chicago by train, before walking a semi-wooded, semi-lakefront trail around the dunes and then swimming in the ‘sea’ at the beach. (I know, it’s not a sea, it’s a lake. But I’d like to pretend.) We did not come with handguns on our waists, unlike one unsmiling couple we passed on the walk with their matching white tops, black trousers and young children. It is such a crime against common sense, community or decency to import lethal weapons into a nice family day out on the dunes, and I hope one day they can feel shame.
We also celebrated our roommate anniversary with Amanda by
going out for a wild evening settling in for the night with wine, pizza, a game of Dominion and Memento. (I’m glad to have finally seen this film, although fans kept spinning furiously in my head to keep up with the extra brain processing required. I think I understood by the end, though!) Randi and I also had a fancy Groupon date night at Two, and last Saturday we helped to surprise Carolyn at a belated birthday party in someone’s back garden. The sun shone, the beer keg flowed, the kids splashed us in the paddling pool, and at one point we sat on the grass with Marte to enthuse about the next Doctor. It’s going to be great!
But to return to Grandpa: thank you for everything you were, and everything you did for your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. You will be missed.