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Grief for a grandfather by Rose Maydon Smith, Long Road Sixth Form College

February 2022

There once was a person and this person was young. Her life was nothing more than a huge misunderstanding. You see when this young girl was about five years old she was a happy, pleasant little bundle of cuteness and spread joy to everyone she met, but one day the little girl met a very awkward ending to her happiness because her great grandfather had come round just to say goodbye and I’ll see you all again tomorrow and went off down the road on his horse and cart, but had sadly passed away that night. Now, what five year old is going to understand that? And what five year old would understand the meaning of death? And what five year old would understand that she would never see him again and that tomorrow would never arrive?

No five year old understands death. I mean does it really ever get understood. This event happened in 2010. The little girl still lives. Still breathes. Still keeps up the courage to go on. Now 11 years later in the year of 2021 the girl is now 16. She has seen many things since then but still hasn’t left the thought of that tomorrow. The thought of leaving him behind. The thoughts of the memories. The painful, excruciating, sad ones. The kind of memories that haunt your worst nightmares. The trauma will never leave. Once it leaves its mark, that mark will never go. It is permanent. That girl by name is Rose. It was me.

I am never afraid to stand my ground. Like my grandfather always told me all that time ago, “Believe in yourself and you will grow stronger.” I have never forgotten the last time I saw him. The last hug. The last Words. The last horse and cart ride.

Now 11 years later at 16 years of age I am afraid of everything. Even walking into a room by myself. I am so scared that I will keep continuously getting bullied for something like my height. For what I have to fear is fear itself.

All the memories of the stories my Grandfather used to read. All the memories of the sweets or chocolate I used to get. All the memories of the games I used to play. All the memories of the horse and cart rides I used to get when spending time with my grandfather. It is so unfair that they have to be taken away so young, so soon. I always have felt so alone and so far away from my family since that I cannot bear to think of him, neither can I bear to bring up the happy memories I have left of him at Christmas because he has been so long parted and is so upsetting at the thought that he was never there at Christmas. I was so close to my grandfather, just as any five year old would be.

But do you know the most painful memory of them all? No. It was the hose and cart rides. The one that always seemed like such a tiny act, actually turned out to be the most memorable part of being an average five year old kid. I would give anything to just have that back, those horse and cart rides, because to me they were an adventure. An adventure worth having. Don’t get me wrong it may have only been down the road and back but to a five year old it meant everything. It was still an adventure nevertheless. Even now at age 16 I would still wish to share that adventure, even if it would cost me my life. I would love to have you back, even for as little as 1 hour, just so I could have that time with you and give you the biggest hug and take a horse and cart ride down the road and just do everything I can with you. I know that isn’t possible, and that is what hurts the most.

His presence can never be replaced; for he is irreplaceable. And I shall never be the same.