I saw this in a little shop in Shere, and thought of you.
I wish you were here. I’d tell you that I love you. I’d hug you like I needed you.
Do you remember when I was on a train to you at midnight and you asked if I was hungry? I said, “I could eat.” You said there’d be sausage and mash waiting. There was also that time you came to visit and took me to lunch at TGI Friday’s. I always loved that place. I imagine I had the chicken tenders. I still do, now and again.
I know you remember how I always used to sit in the kitchen – or your bedroom – and watch Mrs. Doubtfire and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (A friend of mine said recently that he had never seen it – can you believe that?!) I was genuinely upset when Robin Williams passed away because I thought he was wonderful, and memories of him, even ahead of the Genie in Aladdin, were of Mrs. Doubtfire, and I can’t see that film without thinking of you.
You probably don’t remember as well the year I got a TalkBoy for Christmas – like the one Kevin has in Home Alone – and stood round the back of that old TV, recording ‘Greased Lightening’. That was the first time I saw Grease. I have no shame in admitting that I still love that film – although the stereotypes and moral of the ending are awful – because I have such happy memories attached to it.
I know you used to hold me in your arms when I was the tiniest, sickest, premature baby and it looked like I wasn’t going to make it. When Dad would come to London every day after work to visit Mum in the hospital.
And when I was older, before you left us, you used to tell me things I wasn’t supposed to know; because you trusted me.
Did you know I almost got married? Well, that’s not happening anymore. Things have been pretty rubbish. I wish you were here. To tell me everything’s going to be okay. I know things almost certainly will be eventually, but sometimes it’s hard to keep in mind. Some days I feel like I’m moving forwards, but other days I feel like I’m absolutely going backwards. And I just know you would make everything seem alright again.
I love how we three kids each have a picture of us with John John’s pipe. Whenever I’m somewhere and I catch a whiff of that old tobacco smell, I think of him. The thought once entered my head to start smoking a pipe just so I could have that smell around! (But don’t worry; I didn’t follow through on this.)
Whenever I hear Édith Piaf’s ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’, I think of you.
I feel sorry for anyone who has lost a grandparent – even my ex, who was so horrible and hurt me so much – because I know how heavy is the sadness it brings. But at least you are at peace now.
I miss you.
I love you.
– Sunday, 16th October 2016