To me, my granddad was Mr calm, nothing seemed to rattle him. He always had an assured way about doing things, of being in control. I never saw him lose his temper or even offer a crossed word.
A visit to the home he shared with my Nan was a wonderful experience. The grandfather clock ticking away, offering the only noise in the home. His home was quiet, the gardens a tranquil and pretty place to be.
As a child I aspired to be like him, I was envious of the order by which he lived his life. For all that envy, for that desire to live my life like him, I have made a pretty poor job of it so far. My home isn’t quiet. There is no grandfather clock offering order over the day, just the noise of life. And it feels like I’m drowning in it.
My Granddad’s life
I guess I was a bit naive really, thinking I could live my life like my granddad. Let’s face it, I didn’t get to see everything in his life.
Granddad worked hard all his life. He served as a soldier in World War 2 and was shot in the back, shortly after D day. He recovered and then had to deal with relocating his wife and two children. The reason was my Nan’s asthma, with the new home 200 miles away offering better quality air. Not only did he do that, but at the same time, he started his own business as a butcher.
Did he ever feel like he was drowning? It is a question I wish I could ask him. He had some life, and it was never easy. He had so many challenges to lead his family through. My Nan’s health, moving to a new home and starting a new business. Let alone living with the horrors of war and injury.
I only entered his life as his first grandson when he was approaching retirement. For twenty-five years I got to the opportunity to see him and Nan together before he passed away.
For the years we were together, he was always there. Teaching, guiding me, supporting me and loving me as only a grandfather can. A second chance of fatherhood, only cheaper and without the messy stuff.
The Lesson I missed
It is only now that I can see with the wonder of hindsight the lessons he was teaching me. The greatest lesson was the way his life appeared to me. I am envious of it, to this very day.
But, looking back, it wasn’t an easy life. Far from it. I can see that he lived with purpose, he developed plan’s and delivered them. I guess living like this stopped him feeling like he was drowning, then I hope this works for me. The hard work he put in would have been significant. The rewards came though, and that was the life I saw at the end.
I get it now. I wish I hadn’t missed the lesson as I did. But what is in the past can’t be undone. I have to accept it, deal with it and start again. Live with purpose, have a plan and work hard. Then one day I will have the calmness in my life my Granddad had.