Quite unexpectedly today has turned out to be a difficult day for me.
Last night I received an e-mail from people that live in the UK that were friends of my grandfather. When I was about 16 my grandfather decided to take me up Table Mountain. He was always taking me on adventurous outings…to expand my horizons, cultivate a love of the outdoors and respect for the beauty of nature in me. While we were at the top of the mountain we ran into a couple of tourists and they asked my grandfather if he would take a photo of them with the view of Cape Town as the backdrop for the photo. My grandfather obliged (he used to love taking snaps himself) and as was his nature, he struck up a conversation with them. They also took a photo of my grandfather and myself and they exchanged addresses. They said they would send us a copy of the photo they took of us.
Lo and behold not long after that we received the picture of ourselves. They also included the photo that my grandfather took of them and a letter! Correspondence continued between them in the years to follow. Sometimes they would call each other and often when a rugby or cricket game was on between England and South Africa they would take a stab at each other and joke about it. They even sent my grandfather a few birthday gifts and he returned the favour. When my grandfather became a *little* more computer savvy they even had a few Skype video chats 🙂 They still send us Christmas cards. My grandfather valued their friendship a lot. I even stayed with them for a few days when I went to England in 2004. They were so friendly and hospitable. Uncle Rod even took me to Stonehenge and paid for me to get in since it was towards the end of my holiday and I was running low on cash.
It was nice to hear from them. This morning I called my grandmother to let her know that they had written and as I tried to read the e-mail to her I broke out in tears. The e-mail read as follows:
Just a quick note to hope you and your family are well and things are getting better for you in Cape Town after what has been a difficult year.
It’s just over a year now since our good friend Jimmy died, time certainly fly’s by and time can be a great healer.
Jean phoned me a few weeks ago with an update of her situation and she said she would write to me when she has settled into her new home. I haven’t heard from her yet but not to worry as I’m sure she has been busy.
I got as far as the words ‘Cape Town’ before I started crying.
He continued saying that he and he wife were off to Australia again soon. They spend the summer in England and when it turns to winter there they jet off to Australia for their summer since some of their children live there. They never have a winter!
I’ve noticed that it seems to be getting harder for me as the anniversary of my grandfather’s passing draws nearer. I think about him often, but as the day creeps up on me it is more prone to bring me to tears. Just the other day I was sitting watching Babyice play and I was filled with regret that my grandfather is not here to see him. My grandfather loved children. He loved their enquiring minds and how they absorbed everything around them. Babyice is at such an adorable age now. He would have enjoyed him so much. I am also certain he would have spoiled him rotten. I watch Babyice ride around on the little black bike my grandfather bought for him before he was even born and I am so sad that he never got to see him ride it.
I really miss him. A lot. I am so sad today. I wish I could pick up the phone and talk to him. I don’t want to say ‘just one more time’, because that wouldn’t be enough.
Jamie’s 3rd birthday is also coming up. I am not sad about it at the moment. I think it is overshadowed by my grandfather’s passing this year. Is that a horrible thing to say? My grandfather’s death had a huge impact on me and I had a lifetime of memories with him to mourn. We’ve planned a braai with Christelle and Deon on Jamie’s birthday. I still intend to bake something like I do every year and I’ll take along the fruits of my labour to the braai. We didn’t make any other specific plans for her birthday and I only realized after we had planned it. Even though the plans were still fresh, I didn’t want to cancel. What better way to celebrate her birthday than to have a good time with friends and for Babyice to have a play date?