I write this blog with a heavy heart. My husband’s great grandfather has passed away. He was 94 and he’d had a good life. But it still makes me unbearably sad.
I ache for his daughter, who was sitting by his bedside reading to him when he died and is bereft.
I ache for his sons who were many hundreds of miles away and are now mourning the loss of their dad.
I ache for his grandchildren, his great-grandchildren … everyone else who loved him.
I also feel – a little sorry – for myself. And faintly terrified. Because it reminds me: you think things will always stay the same, but they don’t. That people will always be there, but they won’t. Everything ends.
I’d known Poppa for 23 years. He was a lovely old bloke and quite the raconteur. He’d been a showy in his day … in fact, he was still driving his trailer around the NSW show circuit in his 80s, with his faithful chihuahua by his side.
When he wasn’t on the circuit we’d visit him at his crumbling fibro house. Every trip was a carbon copy of the last: the kids would roll billiard balls across his pool table while the grown-ups chatted. We’d eat prawns he’d bought from the fish truck outside the RSL with bread rolls for lunch. I’d walk the kids down to the beach near his house for a splash and a dig in the sand while my husband spent a bit more time with Poppa. Then I’d give his wrinkled old cheek a peck, we’d wave madly out the car windows and drive back to Sydney.
They were beautiful days. But we will never have them again.
We are having different, beautiful days right now and I worry we don’t appreciate them enough. That we will wake up one morning and they will be gone too. Our children will grow, our circumstances will change.
On Sunday the clan will gather in Forbes to celebrate Poppa’s life. There will be laughter, tears, reminiscences, beer …
Poppa would have loved it. He was pretty fond of a tinny and a tale.
Vale Poppa, we will miss you.