It’s been 14 years ago to the day since you were took from us and in these last four years the gap you have left has become more obvious. Yes you were missed for the first 10, of course you were, my 18th only 8 months after you passed, graduation and qualifying as a teacher were all events in my life that I felt your absence and wished you could share with me. However in the last four years there has been an engagement, a wedding and your gorgeous grandson has been born and these three things are when you’ve been missed the most.
I take comfort in the idea of you looking over us and keeping an eye out for us. I know you didn’t really believe in all that stuff, and while I take after you with my lack of religion, I do like to believe you are somewhere. There can’t be nothing. True or not, I take comfort in this.
You live on in myself and C, we are so like you in so many ways and now Mini R is also an Oldroyd through and through! From his stocky build, to his gorgeous little round face. If I had one wish in the entire world, it would be for you to have one day with him: for him to sit on your knee, called you Grandad, show you his books and make you laugh with the huge personality he has for such a little boy. In reality he’s probably spend most of the time saying “Hiya” to you, which he says a few thousand times a day at everyone and every thing.
We’ve already been to Canon Hall a few times since he’s been born (it’s very different from what you’ll remember about it now!) but, just like his mummy, he loves it and it is a place were I can feel close to you. I have made a vow to myself to ensure I take L every Easter to see the baby animals just like you did with me.
As Mini R understands more and grows up he will know all about you: your love for Grand Prix and Rugby, that you were Leeds Utd fan (unfortunately!) and all the lovely days out we used to have as well as that Christmas that you stood on a chair dancing to ABBA! I wonder whether he’ll blow his nose loudly like you and I or clear his throat like you and C, wonder if he’ll play rugby and really hope that your guitar, that sits in the corner of my room, is brought to life after many years by his fingers. Let’s hope he’s better at it than I was when you tried to teach me!
I know that if you were here, you and P would be having a wonderful retirement, seeing the world and maybe seeing some of the Rugby World Cup like B and L are! Maybe you’d have gone to Oz and visited C while she was out there.
One thing is for sure, the years without you being here are piling up and the years you were in my life are being outweighed. Currently I’ve still spent more of my life with you than without you but in three years time that won’t be and I don’t like that thought.
I look at pictures and it’s like you were a figment of my imagination but then I remember moments: silly things like sitting behind you in the sofa and attempting to do your hair despite there being very little, the swimming lessons at Ossett school, holidays abroad and meal times sat around the dining room table. Those memories will live on with me and remind me that you were once here.
I love you Dad, wherever you are. I hope you’re proud.