As I sit crying, with a glass of wine and a cup of coffee, some Netflix original twittering away in the background, I realise that today is a day for reflection. I just picked out the photo album we recovered from my grandparents’ mass of books when clearing out after my grandma passed away. It has a host of photos of my earliest days, photos I didn’t get to know of until I was well into my twenties. Looking at that little squidgy face and imagining that it became me is a strange sensation.
I picked out one picture in particular, a beautifully framed shot of my grandfather holding me. We look at each other in a mixture of shock and awe. It was one of two occasions I would ever see him cry, the second being when Sinatra snuffed it.
On the reverse is the name of the subject: Paul, and the age of the subject: 23 hours. Beneath it is a note in my grandma’s handwriting, suggesting the comment I would make if I wasn’t busy soiling my nappy with Marmite and trying to work out how to crawl back into a womb sometime soon:
“Grandpa, will you tell me about life assurance when I get bigger?”
There’s something so incredibly her about the comment that I began to cry. It’s like a message from her, from beyond this mortal realm. I don’t believe in an afterlife or ghosts. I do believe in words and I do believe in memories. I’m going to spend much of today alone, thinking about them and thinking about you, what a jolly thing to do.