Insiders a long, but personal blog today:
The beginning of the year was one of the hardest times I’ve been through family wise. My boyfriend lost his brave granddad to cancer. I’m sure many of us have been touched by cancer whether or not its been indirectly or not. For me this was the first time that I had been touched by cancer and by death.
I’m so lucky that at the age of 22 I’ve never lost anyone in my family (touch wood). I’ve never been to a funeral either. I didn’t know how I was meant to act or behave. – I know that sounds crazy but I didn’t want to do or say the wrong thing.
My boyfriends Granddad was such an amazing man. I will admit I had only met him a hand full of times. I remember the first time I had met him was at a joint birthday party with my boyfriends family. I had, had a few glasses of wine by the end of the night. I always make it a point to try to keep up with his family with drinking – This is hard might add! Anyway, I was making the rounds saying bye to his aunties, uncles, cousins and came to his granddad. Well, I remember him sitting on the sofa in the living room, he had just stood up to hug me goodbye. When all of a sudden, I said ‘bye, love you’ – Honestly I could have dropped with embarrassment right then and there. I was so humiliated, I just laughed it off and went to my boyfriends room. I looked as red as a lobster! – I remember giggling to myself and face planting the bed with my head buried in the pillow.
My boyfriend thought it was VERY entertaining. Laughing his head off at me as he walked into the room. – Luckily his granddad saw the funny side in it and laughed ‘love you too’ he said. Honestly what a stupid moment! Serves me right for being tipsy!
He was an amazingly fit and healthy granddad. Mine bless his heart is a little fragile now but my boyfriend’s was completely different. He was always smiling, his smile was infectious. You couldn’t help but smile when he was in the room. – Everything lit up. He used to swim every morning. He played bowls with his friends and girlfriend. Such an active man. You could see that he lived for his family and lived his life to the fullest.
When we had been told about the cancer, I remember my heart sinking down to my feet. I swear that it stopped for a moment or two. All I could think was ‘OMG, why?! What has this amazing man ever done to deserve that?!’. After that it was only a few weeks until he had passed. I honestly couldn’t believe how he went so fast. – They do say that as soon as its diagnosed it can be quick. The only thing I guess, I can say in a positive way is that as he was such an active person, being bed bound must have been the hardest time in his life. So in a way, as horrible as it was, it as a blessing in disguise as he didn’t have to suffer.
– My boyfriend, he’s absolutely broken but putting on a brave face. He has been such a rock for my mother in law. Being there for her every step of the way. My mother in law, I couldn’t bare seeing her cry. I knew that I couldn’t make anything better. I wish I could just grab the whole family in my arms and make everything better. However, I’m sure most of you will know that in those circumstances sometimes the best thing to do is say ‘I’m here if you need anything. Whenever your ready’ – Almost instinctively I realised that all I could do is be there if and when they needed to talk.
Of course, I had my own private cry. At the end of the day, I’m a very emotional person and I’m very much in touch with mine and everyone else’s emotions.
The day of the funeral. – The family all met up at my boyfriends granddad’s house. Aunts, Uncles, brothers, sisters, mums, dads. All the close family. We were all talking trying to fill the silence with small talk. The cars then appeared outside of the house. This was the first steps of saying goodbye. All the parents e.g. my boyfriends mum, uncle, aunts went in the first car and me, my boyfriend, his sister and brother all went in the second car. It felt like the longest drive ever to the church. (It was in fact 2 minutes to the church).
We lined up outside the church and followed in the casket. Walking into the church was beautiful. It was packed with family members and LOADS of his friends. This was amazing, you could see how many lives, this man had touched. We took the slow walk up to the front of the church and took our seats and the priest started her opening. I’m not going to lie I felt such calmness, but emptiness at the same time. I was trying to be strong for my boyfriend, knowing that he was going to be doing a reading in a hymns time. The beauty of this priest conducting the ceremony is that she personally knew my boyfriends granddad. She captured him in such a beautiful way.
I looked around the church, the breathtaking stain-glass windows, the gorgeous woodwork, the flowers all laid out around the casket and alter. I felt so close to everyone in the church. I felt so close to peace. I honestly can’t explain it. I just felt so at home. Even with what we were there for, I still felt like I was in the right place.
My boyfriends mum then went up to say her words. I have never heard such deeply touching words in my life. The way she described her dad was magnificent. Recalling her childhood with him as though it was yesterday. Telling us her personal and intimate memories. I can honestly say that there wasn’t a dry eye in the church. – Just lovely words.
It was then my boyfriends turn to speak. This was very much an out-of-body experience for me. As soon as I heard him speak, I couldn’t hold any of my tears back. Seeing his hurt and his emotions come out when reading a lovely poem broke me. I just wanted to grab him and tell him how PROUD and how much I loved him in that moment. – It took amazing courage on his behalf to get up in front of a full church and in front of the Lord to speak. I couldn’t keep my eyes off him when he was up there. I knew that he would look at me for strength when he needed it. – His sister was also up there with him reciting a poem. She was just as amazing with it all.
He came back next to me and we were almost at the end of the ceremony. I took my boyfriends hand and smiled. The priest then mentioned that we were going to hear the Lords Prayer by Andrea Bocelli. This had the whole church in silence. No dry eyes. Everyone was sniffing and admiring the prayer. – It was so moving and touched me in such a way that I felt overwhelmed with love and hope. Beautiful piece. (If you haven’t heard it, you must listen to it!)
At the end close family only went on to the crematorium for the final ceremony. On the way there was a stunning rainbow. The priest had mentioned that it was a sign. A good sign. It was breathtaking to see the rainbow end in the direction in which the crematorium was.
After the crematorium we met up with friends and family at the bowls club in which my boyfriends granddad was a member of. There was a big turn out to celebrate his memory. It was lovely to see all his friends and family all together.
Despite the awful reason behind this day. It was a BEAUTIFUL day. The ceremonies were brilliant. Was an amazing way to say goodbye.
You’ll all laugh at me when I say this next part. I like to believe that there is such thing as heaven. I believe that there is a massive historical house for each and every one of us. Where old family members are looking down on us in the huge gardens. Looking after all the pets that are no longer with us. – I said to my boyfriend, that his granddad, will be with his grandma up in the big house taking care his old spaniel and ginger cat. Looking down at us smiling whilst they are up their with their friends and loved ones. Partying away. Giving us all the luck for the future. – Some might say that that’s a foolish way to think, however it gives me peace and I like to think that there is something amazing after death.
In the words of my boyfriend – ‘Celebrate their life, don’t mourn their death’.
The Insider x