How are you supposed to feel, when someone in your life dies, but you didn’t know them? Why do I have an overwhelming feeling of sadness? They didn’t care, so why do I?
I haven’t blogged in awhile, I think a lot has been going on in the past month and I’ve lost my motivation or time to blog.
After my big South Island adventure, I had a week of downtime, before my friend from Australia flew over to join me for another week of adventure, this time in the North Island, and following my favourite band, The Darkness, around. Then I started my new job, and life has been full on with that ever since.
I would post more about this, but that’s not the reason I picked up my laptop and started typing.
My Grandad died last night.
The first time I ever felt let down in life, was by him. I was 5, and he’d come to visit from Australia or the UK (I’m not sure where he was living at that time). At that age, I didn’t know he wasn’t a good man, I didn’t know all the stories of how he treated my Gran, or my Dad and Aunties and Uncles. All I knew was that my Grandad didn’t live near us, and he was coming to visit.
I remember being excited. I remember talking to him, but I can’t remember his face.
His trip coincided with my very first school play, and I’d asked if he would be there, he promised he would. That night, when I walked down the aisle, with my elephant nose on (I was an elephant in the play), I looked towards where my family was sitting, and there was an empty chair where he was supposed to be.
I didn’t know at 5 what breaking a promise felt like, in that moment, I knew.
That is my only memory of him, and what a sad memory to have. Over the years I would answer the phone whenever he called on my Dad’s birthday, eager to hear his voice and speak to him, sometimes he did, sometimes he didn’t.
I remember one time, very clearly, where I knew he was going to call and I was looking forward to answering, as I had some news to tell him. All I knew about my Grandad was that he was an amazing saxophone player, and loved music and instruments. I had taken up playing the flute and was quite good at it, everyone said that my brother and I must have inherited our musical talents from Grandad.
I answered the phone when he rang, and told him I had something to tell him and that I was now playing the flute and got musical talents from him – trying to grasp at straws to have something to relate to this man over – his response “No, I didn’t call to talk to you, I called to talk to your father, can you put him on the phone please”..
That’s the last time I ever spoke to my Grandad, and yet again another time I was let down by him.
But from what I’ve found out about him, he let down a lot of people in his life, I wasn’t the first, and I also wasn’t the last.
I always thought I wouldn’t care when I found out he passed over, I would joke about it. My mum’s Dad was enough of a Grandfather for me growing up, he was my rock, he was amazing – he made up for the absent Grandad.
My Gran was enough of a Grandparent to cover that absence too. My Gran was my world. She passed away nearly 10 years ago, and it still feels just as raw now as it did then.
But when I got the phone call last night, I cried. Not a lot, but enough. It was confusing. Why was I crying over a man that didn’t care, he didn’t care about his family, he made it clear he didn’t care about me.
But, is family family at the end of the day? No matter what?
I don’t have a love for him because you can’t love somebody you didn’t know, but I do have a sadness over him.
I guess it’s a missed opportunities sadness, I’d always thought that one day I would get to the UK and meet him in my adult life, although, I’d been advised against that by many people – stating it would be a let down at best.
I ended up taking the day off work today, I just needed a day to myself, to process these weird emotions I’m feeling. I’m not going to pretend that he meant a lot throughout my life, but he was my Grandad, and I’m sure that has to mean something.