There’s a poster about you on the wall of our maths room. It only gives a birth date. I don’t want to be the one to have to update it. Grandad, you’ve got to live! You’ve got to! I can’t bear the thought of that phone call telling me you’re gone. I can’t bear the thought that we’ll never talk again and I’ll never hear you laugh.
I love your laugh. It’s more of a chuckle but it’s beautiful. I wish I could make you laugh right now. But it’s no good. You can’t hear me.
Please, Grandad, laugh. Please. For me.
And when you’re gone don’t forget me. Tell me you’re watching over me. Maybe you believe in God, maybe you don’t. But I believe wherever you are you can see me. You’ll be looking at me as I go through life. And you will see me published. I’ll be published, for you. You will see me get my grade 8. I’ll get it, for you. You will see me on the ‘first’ level of the podium, smiling and holding my trophy. I’ll get there for you and I’ll dance in your memory.
I’ll dance as I did when I first decided I wanted to take up Irish Dancing. Do you remember how we talked about it in your front room, and I brought my CD from my little outside room and put it into the kitchen CD player? And then I danced. I didn’t know how but I made it up. And all the while I was smiling because that was what I loved to do.
That’s how I’ll dance when I do a competition. I’ll be smiling because it’s what I love to do. And when I’m on the podium I’ll smile even more when I know that you can see me too. You’re in the audience and you’re clapping. You’re swelling with pride because that champion isn’t just anyone: it’s your granddaughter.
I’ll be that champion for you, Grandad. And that book is being written for you. When it’s published, I’ll be thinking of you as I smile. I’ll be remembering how patiently you’ve listened over the years. How Grandma bought me books and how I loved them. She introduced me to the author that changed my life and that has given me a new ambition. I am going to be the author that changes somebody else’s life. I’m going to make that difference for somebody else, another young teenager.
Well, I hope you know, somehow, what I’ve written. Perhaps when you’re gone you’ll look down and it will be open on my laptop. You’ll read the words and pearly tears will fall from your eyes as they did from mine.
But yours will be from happiness, because you realise how much I truly love you.
Oh, Grandad, don’t ever truly leave me.
forever in my heart