Today I want to talk about my Grandad.
I think it's important that we talk about our past generations
so we can understand what they did for us!
My grandad died over 19 years ago and I still miss him everyday.
He wasn't perfect but he was a huge part of my life.
My dad was always close with his parents.
When his sister and then my dad moved out to South Africa
so did his other sister and his mum and dad.
When my mum and dad, my aunt and her family
moved back to England so did they.
We spent every other weekend with them
and they came on most of our holidays with us.
Most of my memories of my Grandad and my dad
are of them working together in the garden.
My grandad loved gardening.
He also had a part of his life he didn't really talk about.
During the 2nd world war he joined the army.
He'd only met my gran shortly before he left.
He was posted and within weeks was a prisoner of war.
I don't know the full details but I know at the prison he was
at they grew turnips.
The turnips were crushed in machines.
No matter how the prisoners felt or how ill they were they
were made to work.
If they didn't work fast enough they were beaten and quite a lot died.
My grandad worked out if you put too many turnips through
the machines they would get blocked up and would stop.
The guards thought he was brilliant because he was working so hard.
What they didn't realise was he was blocking up the machine so they
could get a rest and hopefully the ones struggling could cope
once the machines started up again.
I don't know about all the horrible things he saw and experienced.
I know when the war was coming to an end they were forced to travel
thousands of miles, quite a lot by foot.
Many died on the trip but luckily my grandad survived.
They were taken to Germany where they stayed prisoners even after
the war finished.
When everyone was celebrating he was still a prisoner.
Eventually he was freed.
He went back to the UK and married my gran.
Up until the day he died he couldn't stand the smell or taste of turnips.
I think it was all they could eat in the camp.
A few months before my grandad died he told everyone
he didn't want heroics and he wanted to go.
He'd developed a cough (he used to be a smoker).
He wouldn't see the dr about it and he had started
suspecting that he was developing dementia.
The thing is he still looked so well.
I'd never really seen him ill.
He was an inspiration to crafting!
He was an expert in 3D decoupage.
He was offered hunderds of pounds for one of his pictures.
His work was amazing!
During this time I had just split up with my fiance.
He took me to one side and said:
"If he is your soul mate you will get back together,
if he isn't your soul mate is out there waiting for you.
Your gran is my soul mate and no matter what people say
or try to do we will stay together.
We were meant to be together and I love her to this day.
He said he never wanted to be a burden on my gran
and that's why he had taken the decision he wanted to go."
It was such a special converstation and he was right.
My fiance wasn't my soul mate.
My husband is and I just needed the time to heal
and then I could see he was the one.
The Sunday before he died he rang my dad and said
he was having problems breathing and could my dad
take him to hospital.
He had an x-ray and luckily an expert was passing and saw
a very faint shadow at the bottom of his lung.
He had pneumonia.
He was admitted straight away and put on antibiotics.
The first couple of days everyone took turns in visiting him.
My Auntie and her 3 children came and stayed at our house.
I looked after the kids whilst the parents went to see him.
And each day some of the grandkids visited.
I was the last to visit, everyone was fussing round him.
He had gone downhill very fast once the antibiotics started kicking in.
He'd had a fall in the hospital and it had affected him badly.
Everyone was fussing and I sat on the empty bed next to his.
Everyone was waffling and my Grandad turned and smiled at me.
In that second I knew.
I knew he was going to go, I knew he was ready and I knew it
was what he wanted.
He didn't say anything and I'm not even sure anyone else
noticed the smile.
11pm that night the phone call came.
I went straight downstairs and told all the adults to go
and I would look after the kids.
My Grandad had a stroke but was still alive at this point.
Everyone went to his side, he couldn't talk after the stroke
and couldn't really move.
My gran was by his side with my auntie, mum and dad.
Unfortunately my dad had gone to get help as my grandad was struggling.
My grandad took his last breath and was gone.
He went the way he wanted to with his family around him.
I wish he'd met my husband and son.
They would of got on so well.
But I'm still happy he went the way he wished.
He had lots of flaws but he was an amazing man.
I have a few things to remember him by and I treasure them.
If someone has touched your life and made a difference you should share it.
If more people did those little things to make the world a happier place
then maybe we can make the world a little better.
Fighting doesn't solve anything.
We need to understand each other more.
My Grandad fought for peace.
I'm lucky I've had that peaceful life he fought for.
I just wish that peace would spread across the world
and we could make it a happier place.
Spend time with your family!
Even if its just to sit and watch tv together,
it makes a difference.
Family won't be around for ever, make the most of them today!