Grandad

A Letter to My Grandad

Grandad,

I can’t believe it’s been a year since you passed, time flies by so fast, yet it still feels surreal.  I don’t see you anymore and you’re not here, buried how many feet down in the ground; but it feels like you should still be here.  Not seeing you feels wrong.

Going to your house, it’s weird not having you greet me at the door with one of your famous lines or watch you slowly descending down the stairs.  It’s sad not seeing you at church on a Sabbath and not hearing from you on my birthday wasn’t nice.  In fact, not being able to tell you happy birthday wasn’t nice either – August is our month and it’s a whole lot emptier without you.

There are times when sitting there thinking about you, suddenly remembering that you’re gone, can bring me to tears.  However, there are times when those thoughts bring a smile to my face, as I remember all the good memories I have of you.  Simple little things I took for granted are no longer the same and I wish I could hear another one of your Burton jokes again – you genuinely did make me laugh.

I still miss you so much grandad, a whole twelve months later, and I still want you to come back.  The pain isn’t so raw, but I don’t think my heart will ever fully recover from having you taken away.  There was still so much more for us to say, so much more time for us to spend together and a whole lot more for me to learn from you.  I keep thinking about the joke you told me about Job’s daughters, which you never finished and I never heard the end of, which saddens me more than I can describe.

Grandad, you were my inspiration and my hero, one of the people I looked up to most in the world.  I just hope I can make you proud and continue your legacy, because you were the most humble, loving, genuinely caring, considerate individual I ever knew.  I can’t wait to see you again.

Love you with all my heart.

Shan-Shan

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Reflecting on 2016

This year has been a weird one, a real weird one.  I came into it with uncertainty, but optimism, ready to embrace the new paths in my life and actually make 2016 my year.  However, life is never what you expect and this year didn’t turn out to be my year.

What started out so positively, with a good turnout at my first youth forum and a new job that fitted my situation perfectly, soon turned into negative heartbreak.  Losing my grandad back in March hurt more than I could have ever imagined, then suddenly losing my aunty in June was another major blow to my heart.  The death of someone you love is never something you want to have on the agenda and I’m still struggling to come to terms with the fact that they’re gone – I don’t know when it will properly sink in.

The deaths of my grandad and aunty sent the first half of this year on a downward spiral, which wasn’t helped by the dwindling numbers at my youth forum or having to stop counselling when I needed my counsellor most.  Uncertainty, doubt and self-hate kicked in, with my self-worth at a major low and I didn’t know how to raise it up again.  My relationship with writing broke down with my broken heart, and I felt that I couldn’t turn to anyone.  I’m just glad that God was always there in my darkness, never leaving me or letting me down.

Nevertheless, weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.  Taking part in The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT) in August was a huge saving grace for me, providing me with the time I needed to mourn and helping to mend my relationship with writing in the process.  Despite feeling lost, out-of-place and lonely during the beginning of the process, I found my way and felt a lot better by the end.  I loved having the opportunity to perform poetry again and organising the poetry night finally gave me the confidence to put on my own poetry nights in Croydon for my youth platform, Young People Insight.

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Being around the individuals from TCFT was also a great help.  My darling Rory was my superhero during those two weeks and I felt blessed to spend so much time with him.  The beautiful Tina, who has become my biggest champion, has given me so much confidence and support, which I am incredibly grateful for.  It was a pleasure to get to know Sandra better and develop a stronger relationship with her, as she gave me advice and support in some of my down times.  I just adore my partner in crime Ellie, I don’t know where I would have been without her.  And there are so many more names, which I don’t even want to mention in case I forget and offend someone.  The love I have for my TCFT family cannot even be expressed with words.

Me, Nomes and Sandra

Volunteering at the soup kitchen at the church I attend has also been a major high for me this year, as I got to know some truly lovely people and develop new, meaningful relationships, which I treasure.  Getting to know a group of individuals from Poland has given me greater understanding of Polish people and I have gained a new respect for them, as well as a deep love for Eastern Europeans.  It also gave me a renewed vigour to make a difference in this world, fight injustice and change it for the better.  God has given me a calling and although it’s tough to embrace at times, I do want to answer the call.

There have been a number of other highlights, including my holiday to Bosnia, having the opportunity to work with so many beautiful children and making new friends.  My youth forum has continued to grow and develop, with much more happening next year.  I just want to take this time to give a special mention to the young people who have come out and supported Young People Insight on a regular – Andrae, Alana, Randy, Jason, Kyle, Hakeem, Darnell and Rhi; I love you guys.

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Although 2016 hasn’t been what I wanted it to be or thought it would be, it has been special in a lot of ways, full of fun, love and laughter.  It may not seem like it a lot of the time, but I have achieved a lot and grown a lot.  I still have a long way to go in 2017, but I know that God will get me there and continue to bless me, because He is my rock and my constant.  I know He’ll never let me down.  I just hope that I continue to grow into the person He wants me to be and follow the path He’s set me on.  And besides, one more year means one step closer to seeing my grandad and aunty again.

Missing You On Your Birthday

Dad in Jamaica 5It would have been your birthday today, making the loss of you all the more real.  I would have seen you at church today or called up the house to say, “Happy Birthday Grandad!” and hear you reply, “Thank you darling.”  It’s sad that I’m not able to hear your voice, see you smile or give you a hug.

I still miss you, each and everyday, feeling the hurt of knowing my grandad is no longer here.  Talking to mum and Rhianna today, we agreed that God knew that it was your time to go, but I can’t help wishing that you were still here.  I still wanted more time with you – time to hear more of your silly jokes, time to study Revelation, time to learn more about your childhood and your home of Jamaica.

I wanted more time to speak with you, as there are so many things I wish I could have said and so much more love I wish I could have shown.  Often when you come to mind, I wonder if you knew how much I loved you – I really hope you did.

August is now a little emptier without you, and I hate that.  We were part of the same club, celebrating our birthdays nine days apart, but Zane now has that day to himself.  There were many years when doctors and other individuals thought you wouldn’t be spending birthdays with us, but I never shared their doubts, so it comes as a surprise to me that I’m not telling you happy birthday this year.  You were such a fighter, I just didn’t imagine losing you.

I guess I’ll just have to get used to an August without you, no longer able to celebrate your birthday or have you around to celebrate mine.  However, I’m incredibly happy for all of the Augusts I did spend with you and all of the memories you gave me over the years.  I was very lucky to have you as my grandad and you still have a piece of my heart.  I love you always and forever.