A week ago today was my grandfather’s funeral. Here’s the speech I read at the ceremony.
I was fortunate enough to grow up with three parents; my mum, my grandma, and my grandad. I’ve now lost two of them.
Given the circumstances of the last few weeks and months, I don’t think we’re terribly surprised that we’re now here today. But we are saddened and grieving for the loss of a father, a grandfather, and a friend.
On Tuesday, my grandad would’ve been 82 years old. The old bugger! He lived a long and enjoyable life. But he’d admitted himself a number of times that he was ready to go. He’d had enough.
The turning point seemed to be back in 2012 when his wife of 56 years died after a battle with cancer.
It was a major blow to all of us. But I can only imagine what it must’ve felt like for him to have lost the love of his life and to spend the last few years of his life alone with no one to talk to during the day and no one to keep warm in bed at night.
Having said that – he seemed more than content with wrestling and cowboy films on the TV. Each to their own, I guess.
His passing has been made easier because we’re all very conscious that wherever he’s moved on to now – he’ll be with his Eileen again.
And knowing them all too well – they’ll already have had plenty of arguments, plates will have been thrown and shouts of “you bloody ‘erb” will have been hurled. And according to them it’ll all be the other one’s fault after a few too many Barley Wines.
They met at a dance – and my grandma always said to me on the sly she wasn’t too keen at first because he looked “shifty”.
But indeed they spent the rest of their lives together – they married and had their first daughter in 1956, and went on to have their second daughter in 1968.
And it’s obvious they loved and cared for their children so so much. My mum and auntie know how lucky they were to have parents like that.
As I said before I’m sure there will have been lots of arguments between them already now they’re together again. But we also know they’ll be looking down at us, gushing with pride, and guiding us for the rest of our lives.
And I don’t know about you – but I feel in pretty safe hands.
I’m going to read a short poem now, and it’s one I read at my grandma’s funeral.
When God saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be
He put his arms around you
And whispered come to me
He didn’t like what you went through
And so he gave you rest
His garden must be beautiful
He only takes the best
And when we saw you sleeping
So peaceful and free from pain
We wouldn’t wish you back
To suffer that again
Today we say goodbye
And as you take your final rest
That garden must be beautiful
Because you are one of the best.
My grandparents – and my mum as well – have been and always will be my inspiration. They taught me lessons that were more valuable and worthy than anything money can offer.
They worked so so hard for what little they had. But they shared every bit of it with those they loved the most. Their time, their friendship, and their love.
They proved to me that it’s not the jobs and the houses and the money that matters. It’s the memories, the companionship and the love that you share that lasts forever and beyond.
And as we say a final goodbye today to our father, grandfather, and faithful friend it is forever and beyond which he will be remembered.
Goodnight Grandad. We love you.