This is a photo of my 10 month old daughter with her 90 year old great Granddad on her Mother’s side, Harry, playing together at Christmas time a couple of years ago. I struggle not to get emotional every time I look at it. Harry died in the May of the following year and I still miss him terribly as I had an amazing relationship with him despite only knowing him for the ten or so years after my wife and I became an item.
Harry was quite simply a brilliant man. I’ve never met anyone of that age before or since who was still fit and able into his 90s. He would visit my father in laws most Sundays where we all congregated for lunch and I could talk to him for hours; he had some of the most amazing stories to tell. He had a kidney removed in his late teens (one of the first to have the particular procedure apparently) and because of this couldn’t fight in the war so he spent those years in London in the factories. He’d repeatedly say it was the most enjoyable time of his life and that the camaraderie amongst his fellow workers and friends was second to none. He kept up to date with current affairs and sports and we shared a number of ideals and opinions which came out from our many discussions. He’d always refer to me as his Grandson which was an incredible compliment and joked about himself being an honorary Scotsman, just like me (I am Scottish on my Father’s side and his claim was he was born, raised and lived north of Hadrian’s Wall!). I worked in an office 5 minutes away from his house and would pop round every now and then to see how he was doing and he was always cheery and welcoming.
Harry adored his great granddaughter. She was his first and he’d always said he wanted a little girl to come along. When we told him we were expecting he was overjoyed and his gallows humour would mean he would always say he hoped to still be around when she was born. Well he managed it and you could see him bursting with happiness when he first met her. She took to him without any problems and this photo is one of many we have of her sitting on his knee smiling away.
Harry suffered from bad knees, stomach issues, angina and cancer but despite all of this when he saw his great granddaughter sitting on the floor and playing he’d instantly get down there with her and give her all the attention she could wish for. This photo sums up the relationship perfectly. As she grew older he continued with his mantra of wanting to still be around for her various milestones and the most important one of all was to be able to see her walk. The month before he died she did and we went round to visit him so he could see. She excitedly walked along his living room towards him and it is a moment I will cherish forever. She then proceeded to chase him up and down his corridor. His old age finally caught up him with not long afterwards but I am so happy he got to see all of things he wanted to.
It is heart breaking to think my daughter will probably have no memory of him but we still talk about him and have one of the photos of them together around my Father in Laws as a permanent reminder of their special relationship. We all miss him so much but I feel honoured to have known him for the time that I did and very proud to be able to give him his very own great grandchild.
This post was featured on Mrs Mummy Harris Guest Series, link below. Once again thank you for allowing me to contribute.