My Grandad, Alfred Lush, passed away on Thursday, 26th March 2015. He has appeared in many a column of mine, and I am writing this with a raw and aching sense of loss.
As the only child of an only child, I have always been particularly close to my Grandad, but following the death of both my father and grandmother, the bond between us strengthened even further. Due to the twists and tumbles of fate, my Grandad was in my life far longer than my dad, and he has been an anchor for me.
He had always told me that he would not become incapacitated in old age, and that he would not – when the time came – suffer a long and painful death.
“I’ll go like that, my darlin’”, he told me, with a click of his fingers. And sure enough, he did.
At the age of 90, with no loose ends left behind, he went in the blink of an eye. He was sat completing a puzzle in his armchair, and when his companion, Mary, looked up, he had simply gone. The puzzle was entitled A Ripe Old Age.
The grief is flooding me in waves at the moment. Sometimes, during the day, my skin will feel almost alive with it. A physical sensation, a raw and open wound, like frostbite on flesh. But at other times, I find myself laughing at conversations that he and I had, and smiling at the memories of him with my father and my beautiful grandmother.
My Grandad lived on his own terms, and he died on his own terms. He was a businessman and an old-fashioned gentleman. He was generous to a fault, and even after his beloved wife died, he would not give in to the stereotype of a lonely old man, and a lonely old age.
He worked everyday until he was 75, when he finally retired, and sold his last business, Shoot Pool, in Fratton Road. He went on holidays to Vegas, a cruise only last year, and it would be fair to say that he rather enjoyed a bet or two on the horses.
But first and foremost he was a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a great-grandfather. He knew where priorities lay and what really mattered in life, and his words of wisdom, and the examples he set me, shall never be forgotten.
Wherever you are now, my darling Grandad Lush: I love you.
First published in The Portsmouth News, Tuesday 7th April 2015