Wednesday, 26 November 2008

For Grandad

Grandad is on the right, with his father, who he looked so much like in later life

Grandad was born in Kaimakli, Cyprus in November 1916. He worked as a stonemason and if you go to the Post Office in Nicosia you can see his work standing proud. Grandad fought for Britain in World War II and came to London after the war. Here he met Nan, fell in love and stayed.

Grandad worked in various posh hotels and restaurants as a chef and has even cooked for the queen! Grandad and Nan started a family and after living for a time in Cyprus settled back in the UK. (Nan couldn't cope very well with the climate in Cyprus).

They had four children one of which was my father in law. When my husband was growing up he embraced his Cypriot heritage and was extremely close to his Grandfather. He learned the language and spent as much time with him as possible. When he was about ten Grandad took him to Cyprus for three months and had him confirmed in the Greek Orthodox church.

Grandad was a very heavy smoker when he was younger and was finaly diagnosed with emphysema when he was in his early seventies. He battled on and led a fairly resonable life. The last time he went back to Cyprus was in 2002, he wanted to go again last year but his health had deteriorated too much and doctors would not let him fly.

He was a very strong man, and very tall for a Greek. But he was also very much in charge of his family. He was very much the head. He kept the family in line and was always the one to sort out any arguements. What Grandad said - was. Even as his health failed him, he was respected and revered.

Back at the beginning of November Grandad ended up in hospital with a chest infection. He was up and down for a couple of weeks. One minute we were told he only had a few days to live, the next he was getting stronger again. He finally, drifted away peacefully 6 days after his 92nd birthday.

I have worried about this time ever since I met my husband and grew to realise how much his Grandad meant to him. I have dreaded the aftermath. We both thought he would fall apart but my husband is so far coping remarkably well. The time Grandad spent in hospital, I guess, has given us all time to adjust and get used to the idea. The funeral will be down in Somerset on Friday, that is going to be the hardest, that's when it really hits you most. The worst thing is that my husband is now working up in Dumfries a million miles from everyone. He has to fly down for the funeral then fly straight back again. I will meet him there but it is hard not being able to be with him and support him the rest of the time.

Grandad was a great man and will leave a very big hole behind. I just hope everyone can be grateful for the many years we had him for and celebrate them.

Rest In Peace Grandad 16/11/1916 - 21/11/2008


Don said...

Here's to Grandad...

You wrote a beautiful essay that lets us see what a man he was/is.

auntiegwen said...

I agree, how loved he was xx

Adventure Mother said...

He was obviously a lovely man. Thinking of you all!