Two weeks ago I lost my Nonno.
Two years ago I lost my Abuelo.
I often have moments where I forget just for a second or two that they are gone, as in my mind it doesn’t make sense. It’s a strange feeling to lose someone who has been a part of your life from the beginning and you don’t remember a time without them and I’ve lost two in two years.
I lost my Nonna when I was nine years old and my memories of her, although very fond and wonderful, were captured in the mind of a child. I remember our shopping excursions, her cross-stitch lessons, playing go-fish for hours and the special way she’d make me two-minute noodles.
However, still in the mind of a child who didn’t quite understand what was going on or what it would mean for me.
The bonds I formed with my grandfathers as an adult have been stored in my memory forever. I could see them as so much more than the fathers of my parents. They were special people with funny quirks and talents who were warm and caring and proud.
When my Nonno passed away, my sister turned to me and said ‘It’s weird to think we only have one grandparent left.’
Of the four, we’re both down to one, our Abuela.
I know death is inevitable and every single person will face it one day but accepting this fact doesn’t make it any easier.
Both grandparents final days were extremely difficult not just for my families to watch but for them both also. One’s body was riddled with cancer, leaving them frail and in pain, a fraction of the man I fondly remember in the garden or in front of the barbeque. The other’s mind slowly declined over a decade and a strong, energetic and intelligent man fell victim to dementia.
One death came fast and the other a slow progression over many years.
One thing I take solace in is that I spent so much time with them both. I have hundreds of photos with them, funny stories to share, inspiration and advice I’ll carry with me always.
I get it, life is busy and working full-time doesn’t leave a lot of time for extracurricular family visits, but is that a good enough excuse?
Make time for your grandparents because they won’t be here forever.
When you see them, be present. Put the phone away, turn off the TV and just take a step away from the distractions. They value your time whether it be over a cup of tea and biscuits or out for dinner so make each visit count.
I couldn’t tell you what phone I had when I graduated uni but I can tell you my grandparents were there cheering me on. I can’t remember the exact words I said to my grandmother when I got engaged, but I do remember the joy in her voice on the other end of the phone.
I suppose this applies to all family members but I’m quite vulnerable on the grandparent front at the moment.
I’ve leave you with this, fill your life with memories and special people as that will be all the treasure you need.