Sunday, 2 August 2015

In Memoriam

My grandfather passed away August 2, 2014, leaving behind two daughters, four grandchildren, one great grandchild and a tonne of memories and stories.

His final sickness was long and sad as he was no longer allowed to live in his own home, able to boss around those family members who made the effort to visit him. Instead he was confined to a hospital room and then a residential care facility. 

From there he weakened until he finally passed away at Fremantle Hospital, a shadow of his former self, his elbows and knees sticking out even more than usual. 

Finally, after a day of his family surrounding him, my sister even ringing in from Berlin, and Granddad telling us, in French, to stop arguing when his grandchildren were loudly bantering with each other as has become usual, he slipped away. 


A week of planning, preparation and trawling through thousands of photos and what felt like thousands of biblical verses, we held his funeral at his local church, a place he'd visited every Sunday for as long as he was able.

Now, he's buried at Fremantle Cemetery finally reunited with his wife, who died 50 years earlier, and beside his mother. And while we made the effort to tend to his grave this morning, replacing the flowers and inscribing loving messages in the sand, he's not there.

Granddad's body may be there, but that section of the cemetery is so depressingly run down and stark that it's nicer not to think of him as there, even if later we do move him and my grandmother to the nicer grassy section.

It sounds strange saying he's all around, but he's remembered in the little things we do as we go about our daily lives or continue to sort through his estate.

As we wade through the paperwork for his final tax return, sorting the details between him, his estate and his beneficiaries.

Phoning charities to have his name removed from their mailing lists... still.

Still sorting through his documents and the paperwork currently living in my sister's room, and discovering a list of every car he's ever owned.

When we go to inordinate amounts of effort to fit a Primus stove into the beach shack, only for the Primus not to work (why oh why Granddad did you keep it?).

When his daughters go shopping together (or separately) for things for the new fit out of the beach shack and spend far more money than he would have thought necessary (he was an accountant).

Teaching his great granddaughter that when my father teases her she needs to tease him back, a piece of advice I was given to cope with my grandfather's teasing.

Drafting emails asking for the roses at his house, that were his pride and joy, to be pruned. 

Making pastichi or the other traditional desserts of the family and using the old recipes in his handwriting. (Sometimes that alone make the recipe twice as difficult).

Listening to his great granddaughter query how you could possibly be visiting him when he's dead.

Rattling down Leach Hwy and no longer turning off towards his house.

Creating photo books of their childhoods for his daughters' birthdays.

Seeing his autobiography on the shelf above my computer and knowing I have to get back to deciphering it and digitalising it, so we have all of his stories recorded for future generations.

Granddad, we miss you!!


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