Better to have loved.

Not sure where to start with this blog post.  So, I am just starting, and leaving this in so others know it’s not easy and natural for everyone to write, especially when you’re writing of your deepest feelings and emotions. It’s raw – and unedited. Just written in flow and posted, so excuse any dodgy grammar/rambling etc.

So this one is dedicated to my Grandfather.  A man of determination, kindness, humour, talent who earned the respect of all who knew him, who passed away 3 years ago today.  This man was my rock, my anchor, my guide, my best friend, my teacher, my stability, my inspiration, and was 10 times the man I could ever even dream of being.  A rare gem, of such exceptional quality, grace and sheer brilliance that I know I was privileged beyond measure and lucky to have had his presence in my life.

He struggled his whole life with health problems, quite severe, but it rarely wiped the daft grin he always wore on his face, nor did it stop him living his life to the maximum he could at all times. Never stopped him being polite and kind to those who cared for him. Never stopped him playing the sports he was so utterly incredible at.  I lose count of the amount of times he picked me up off the deck, dusted me down, and very occasionally kicked up me up the backside!  I know he wanted nothing more than to see me successful, appreciated my determination and entrepreneurial spirit even though the way my life panned out, and decisions I made, must have frustrated him hugely at times!  I recall only once him losing his patience with me, something now I reflect on with a giggle and fondness.

He bubbled over with mischief!  Always teasing us kids!  Sneaking off to pinch a sweet treat from the cupboard when he shouldn’t have been.  I am grateful that, although it meant many opportunities I wanted to take fell apart, it resulted in me being able to be there for him in his later years – for the hospital trips, taking him the places he wanted and needed to go.  I didn’t always do this with a smile on my face, with my own frustrations, (I wish I was more aware of these practices I use now) but at no point was I ever not grateful for have him in my life.  Good Lord how I would appreciate his guidance still in my life!

It gets heavy here.

When he passed away, I stood next to him in his hospital bed.  I held his hand.  I watched most of my family fall apart around me.  I thanked him for everything he had done for me.  I meant it from the bottom of my heart.  I knew what was coming.  He squeezed my hand.  A tear rolled down his cheek.  Something I had never witnessed (and I am not sure I should share, but I am just following my instinct).  Today this moment still brings tears to my eyes.  As he went, there was a stillness, a silence, like time stood still, I can still remember the emotions flying around – yet in that moment, I could tangibly feel the silence.  It was oddly serene.  Like some form of release.  I stood still.  In that moment.  That moment I had dreaded for as long as I could remember.  I expected to totally breakdown, but I didn’t.  I entered stillness.  What else is there to do?  It was not purposeful, it was not even on my mind.  I wonder, given how incredible this gentle but determined man was, and how selfless and giving – was this his last lesson for me, to carry forward, the last gift he could give me after basically being my Dad?  Whilst I don’t profess to know, and I would not wish to defame his memory in any way shape or form, if we DO enter soul agreements etc as some people believe (I am open minded on these matters), then I know it’s the kind of thing he would have done for me.  To deliver to me an indelible mark of what presence and stillness means, in your absolute darkest and most dreaded of days.

He was that kind of man.

That day I lost 4 people.  My mentor, my best friend, my Grandfather, and my Father.  I was not particularly on a level footing when that happened anyway (understatement), but afterwards, my gosh – I have just lurched from strange crisis to stranger crisis – finally resulting in me submitting once more to the idea of mindfulness as my ego self basically collapsed around me.  Of course, it rebuilds, fights back, trips you up, spins you around as you’re trying to desperately smash the pinata and discover the sweet wonders of your truest self, and subsequently undo years and years of negative destructive programming – but I digress.

I had to go and collect his death certificate alone.  There was a giant clock in the hospital entrance that haunts me to this day.  I joined another close family member, and carried him into the church to (the amazing) Royal British Legion salute – joking I’d spent the last few years giving him lifts places so it was only appropriate to do it one last time.   The fact is, it was hard, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, all of it was, but I don’t regret a moment of it.  It was the absolute least I could do for everything this wonderful soul had done for me throughout my own life, no matter how much of a pain in the backside I could be.

He lived in his moment, showed compassion, humour, resolution of spirit, determination against odds, and pretty much anything that’s good about me you will find within his influence – and for all my faults, of which I have many, you are unlikely to find a link to him.  I do know however, underneath those faults, there is the same spark, the desire to bring happiness to others, to enjoy life fully, to be sociable, to make a positive difference that defined this man’s life.

The fact is this.  Each time you read a message, a tweet etc, that brings a touch of brightness to your day, it is thanks to my Grandfather and the love and kindness he showed to so many, that shines through – imbued with his legacy and with his motivation.  The crappy parts, I will just have to keep working on until I finally unlock the way to be who I truly wish to be in this world.  Me.  Fully and completely.

For now, you will all have to make do with me as I am as I try to understand the complexities of life and share with you as I learn.

I remain humbled by the kindness of you all, and I wish you all happiness, peace, joy and fulfillment in your life – just the same as my wonderful Grandfather would have done.

And to my dear “Gramps” – thank you for everything you did for me, I am a bit of a mess anyway, but without you I dread to think the state I would have ended up in!  You were the single most influential person in my life, and not a day goes by that I do not miss you.

I truly hope you are in a better place, and resting in peace.

Love you pal,





2 thoughts on “Better to have loved.

  1. A beautiful dedication Richie. Of course he lives in you. Speaks through you. Manages your tendencies to offer yourself in service to others. But it is YOU who decides to dedicate yourself to being ever better, ever more authentic. For that you have only yourself to thank.


    • A moving reply Nicki, I truly thank you for it.

      He would still probably want to give me a bit of advice here and there mind you… lol!!

      Blessings to you 🙂

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