I didn't really know my grandparents. My mothers father died when I was nine, and her mother died before I was born. My fathers parents were in the UK and so I knew them simply through a visit or two and birthday cards.
My ideas of grandparents were gained through watching other people's grannies or by watching the few old people that knew growing up.
Mick Harrold was the first real grandparent I got to know close up. He was exactly what you would want a grandpa to be. He was kind and sometimes moody, he was honest and loving to everyone, especially me, he was funny when called for but mostly he sat quietly drinking his tea and watching the commotion around him.
He was spritely until only recently, and died suddenly but coincidently (or if your spiritual at all, not so coincidently) holding his wife of 63 years hand.
It was a good death, moments before it he asked for orange juice and had been talking to one of his sons and his wife. And then he slipped quickly and quietly within a breath.
We should all hope for such a death.
No pain, just old, still with most of our faculties (although they were just starting to fade) holding someone who had loved us for the vast majority of our lives hand.
Today I stood and looked at his body and he looked as peaceful as I have ever seen someone who has died. I told him that, I had never told him in life that I loved him but I believed he knew it and I knew that he loved me too. I could feel it as he jumped up to give me tight cuddles and stubbly kisses, in the way he told me stories about his his life, marriage, religious beliefs (he had none, but lived a life that any god would be proud of), and in the way when everyone else was fussing he would give me a quick glance and a cheeky smile as if to say 'I know you think this is as silly as I do'.
Goodbye Grandpa Mick, thank you got being my grandpa too.