Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Remembering Grandad

It's exactly a year today since I got a phone call from my mum to say that my Grandad had finally had enough of hospital wards and operations and had passed away in the night.

I wrote this eulogy first in my head as I walked around the fields near my house exactly a year ago, then on paper, then on my battered old PC (mainly to see if I'd got the grammar correct. It's the little things that matter in situations like this.)

His ashes were scattered on Pendle Hill, an important geological marker to me, which I can see from my front door. I don't kid myself that he's watching over me from that high point - I reckon he's got better things to do. I do like how much of a vantage point he has over East Lancashire, the Forest of Bowland, Ingleborough and on clear days, Lancaster, Morecambe Bay and beyond though. If he ever does visit, he's got one of the best roof terraces in the world to keep an eye on us.


Like most of us Cronshaws, my Grandad was a doer, not a talker, so he showed how much he cared in actions, not words. He’d do anything he could to help, if it made you happy. He fixed things. His was a practical sort of love.

My Grandad and I spent a lot of our time not saying very much - I’m a lot like him, actually, and when he helped me to move my life from London to the North he had no idea how much better my life became. Or perhaps he did. Maybe that’s why we didn’t need to speak about it. I spent two years thinking of a way to tell him, finally meeting him with a brown envelope full of the money I’d saved to pay him back and the right words in my head.

He wouldn’t let me give that envelope to him. He had wanted to help. That sums him up for me - he was happy that he had changed my life and all he wanted in return was a hug and for us to have a pint together.

My Grandad showed me it’s okay to love life and still be a misanthrope sometimes. He was an insight into my family, into who I am. He showed me that it’s hard work to be yourself, but that there’s not much else in the world more worthwhile to work for.

The last thing I said to my Grandad was “I love you.”

It was probably only the second or third time either of us had said it to one another. It’s not a particularly common Cronshaw trait to have, a sense of emotional open-ness.

I’m glad I told him. I’m glad he always knew. We should tell everyone we love that we love them as often as we can - not fatalistically but because we can. Because we do. Because we always will.

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