This week was my paternal grandfather’s funeral.
He held no fear of death and, by the time he went, he was ready for it.
The service was beautiful, he was – among many other things – the Church Warden for St. Bartholomew’s and a veteran of the RAF. The British Legion stood on ceremony, a British flag draped the coffin and the church community gathered round the family.
There were no cut flowers since he hated them, feeling they should be growing instead – a sentiment I can identify with wholeheartedly! I am sure he spoke the language of flowers and trees as they would thrive under his care. I remember when he tended the roses in my father’s garden. My step-mother was horrified, Grampy cut them right down to the ground that autumn… but come spring they grew even stronger and healthier and bigger than ever before.
Once, when I was small, he took me out onto the sea, pulling me behind him in the rubber dinghy we had for seaside holidays. As I floated, slowly sliding across the ocean surface, he gestured to the distant hills. “Sometimes,” he told me, “I can see through this world, into the other world. Death doesn’t scare me because I know that what lies beyond is beautiful, wonderful, an adventure.” I watched the hills as they shimmered with the power of his story and I have carried that moment with me ever since.
As he lay in the hospital and we stood beside him, knowing he wouldn’t wake up again, we said our goodbyes. And I knew he was near, not in the shell of who he was but standing tall and strong, ready for the shimmering world beyond those hills, ready to become a Guardian Angel for his great-grand-daughter, being born as he left this plane, and an Angel watching over all his family.
I am so grateful to my beautiful Grampy, the tree-whisperer, and whenever I step out into the green world now, I feel him near.
Love to you, Grampy, and love to all the family. We’re all thinking of you.