Home Made Features

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Everything passes; love remains...
[Photograph: My Grandparents on their wedding day]

Since I can remember he always had long white hair and an equally long grey beard. He wasn’t a very tall man, perhaps he was to me when I was younger but looking back now, he wasn’t, he did however have a rounded belly. He looked like Father Christmas, so many people said. To me he wasn’t, he was something more special than that.

As Lucy and I ran along the paved steps, our Nan was always there to greet us at the door of their small magical cottage in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. As they lived 100 miles away it was always a treat for us to visit. We would bundle into the living room and without fail he would always be in his chair, waiting for us to give him a cuddle and kiss. On the right hand side of his chair, was his penknife – something that I now know from my father he always used to carry around with him, that and some string. In case he ever found himself in a spot of bother. With this knife he used to cut his apple every evening and sat a tin of Werther’s Original, which he kept to offer us whilst we were watching the T.V.

He had a great mind and always plenty of stories to tell, my sister and I would listen to him at the dinner table and answer his questions of why showers were more economical than baths. How would I know I was only eight years old at the time and further more why would I be interested? But that was the great thing about him, everyone was equal, in his eyes. He never said a bad word about anybody, even while my Nan would worry about my Dad’s new love interest. I can hear him now ‘Marie, let them be!’ He would calm her down and they were great together.

I have always admired the love they had between them, they are people worthy looking up to. They were married 55 years and met before he went to war – although he apparently didn’t remember my Nan eyeing him up at a dance when she was only 14. I love hearing stories about their time together, they had twins boys, owned a pub and retired together when the time was right for them. I want the same things that they had, I want that unity with someone, to create a life and to be partners, forever. They are my teachers and always will be.

I was training for a charity race, when I got the call. He had died. A rush of emotion flooded through me, I broke down, I could not believe what was happening, weren’t people meant to live forever – obviously not. Regret filled my mind immediately, I would never hear him chuckle or called me his munchkin, I would never have another conversation with him, I would never run through to the living room and he would never be waiting for me in his chair to kiss and cuddle me. It was that chair, his chair where he died. It seems so enchanting now he died happy, in his chair, in his home, that he spent many years of his life in with his true love. He had lived a great life and it was time for him to move on.

His funeral was a blur to me, I was crying too much to listen to what the vicar was saying. I remember looking over at my Nan to see that she was not crying as much as I was – I realised this wasn’t because she didn’t care for him, far from it, she loved him and always will love him dearly. I realised that she had a lot of memories of him and a lot of happy moments that she had only experienced with him. I thought maybe she had done her crying and she was there to say goodbye and to cherish the memory of their life together. On the back of the funeral pamphlet, was a poem, a poem that brings a very true message. It said, ‘Do not mourn for me, as when you see the world, I see it with you’, at the end it said ‘Everything passes; love remains’. I can almost hear him say these words, it’s like he wrote it just for us, to help us heal and say goodbye.

Although I have regret of not learning enough from him, I have something that powers through that, I have the memory of him, he will always be in my family’s hearts, heads and conversations. He will always be my grandad, Sidney Thomas Gates.

[Photograph: My Grandparents in their garden :)]


  1. Soph, that's so sweet :) My grandad had a chair too, right near the TV which he'd only let me sit on when I was younger, and we'd sit and watch Only Fools and Horses together ;D
    I remember being devastated too when my grandad died, I didn't believe it for over a year after, I'd go over to my Nan's expecting to see him, and when he wasn't there I'd think he was out - really odd how your mind tries to protect you from things sometimes.
    Still, it's good to remember happy memories with your grandad, and thanks for bringing them back with this post! I'm sure your grandad was just as awesome as mine!

  2. Cat what a lovely comment, thank-you for reading it :)
    The story was written for a Vogue Comp but I decided to put it up here so that people could re-live their happy memories of loved one's!! P.S. He was awesome :D

  3. It's a lovely story! :) Definitely reminded me a lot of my grandad, made me smile and was very nostalgic for me, so thankyou!