Myriad of memories for my charismatic grandad

Verity still has vivid memories of her grandad
Verity still has vivid memories of her grandad

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Verity Lush is a 39-year-old mum-of-two who lives in Portsmouth.

She is a tutor in philosophy, English and maths and has written a book for newly-qualified teachers, plus textbooks and articles for teaching magazines and supplements.

Remarkably, it was a year last weekend since my Grandad passed away.

Subsequently, I have been besieged by memories this past week. I think about my grandfather every day, and his death had a huge affect on my attitude to life last year.

I was watching First Dates on TV last week, and a young man was telling the camera how his father died when he was young.

Having been there and experienced that, my ears pricked up, and when he went on to say that his grandad is now his hero, and that he has never let him down, I started thinking about how many young people in the world need their grandparents.

Grandparents fit into that slot in our lives, the one that parents, who are with us day in and day out, simply cannot fill.

And when the unthinkable occurs and one, or perhaps both, of those parents are gone, then it is their own mothers and fathers that take on that huge responsibility.

My grandad was always, unstintingly, there for me. Which leads me to think, how incredibly lucky and fortunate am I to have had him for 38 years?

And because he was such a presence, and such a huge inspiration, I am now lucky enough to have been left with a million memories.

And surely that is where we all live on eventually: in memory.

And I don’t mean the cloudy recalls of times that have passed, or the memories that begin to fade before we’ve even really begun to make them.

Instead, I mean the kind of memories that are cut in crystal clarity, for my grandad had too much charisma to ever fade to the format of vague recollection.

I remember my grandad coming to the hospital when his first grandchild, my daughter India, made her appearance into the world, and I remember his utter pride and love for both of my girls, always tinged with the melancholy that they should have had – had life taken a different turn – a grandad, as well as a great-grandad.

A couple of times over the years, I even moved in with my grandad, and I think I say with some surety, that there can’t be many young women who were out-partied by their 90-year-old grandfathers like I was.

Friday night card games were the stuff of legend, and rightly so, because if there was ever a man who was never going to give in to the stereotype of a lonely old man, living a lonely old age, then it was grandad Lush.

Las Vegas and cruises, card games and horses, braces and smart shirts. Huge hugs and a stubborn nature, a titantic heart and a dapper suit.

Tomatoes and cucumbers growing in the greenhouse, chocolate biscuits and Kleenex for Men tissues.

Automatic cars and the Daily Mail, puzzles and bacon sandwiches. Sunday roasts and maths homework, chocolate eclairs and lemonade and, always, a brandy and dry ginger.

Each of these, a memory, taken like old-fashioned flash bulbs bursting into colour in my mind. The list could be endless, the memories are myriad, and my love for him is infinite.

So, if you are mourning the loss of a parent or a grandparent when you read this and, as you’ll know, that needn’t be a recent loss – take comfort in the fact that you were lucky enough to have had that person.

So many people aren’t and so many people don’t appreciate it when they are.