At just gone 5am on the morning of Saturday, 18th April 2015 a light went out. Roy Ernest Alder had passed and in that moment many people’s lives changed forever. He left behind the most wonderful, caring and beautiful (inside and out) wife, Ivy and his three children: Andrew, Jill and Twink; along with a legacy of Grandchildren and even Great-grandchildren. He was a gentle man, very tall with perfect white hair and forever carrying a smile and would always greet you with such warmth however long between visits it had been or whatever the weather, to him it was like you only saw each other yesterday. Roy was my granddad, though I should probably highlight not my biological granddad as he was the father of my Father’s wife Twink (I’ve known him since I was about 5 or 6 I think?), though to me it made no difference and calling him a ‘Step-Granddad’ just seemed ridiculous.
In Jackson Browne’s song ‘For a Dancer’ he sings:
“I don’t know what happens when people die, can’t seem to grasp it as hard as I try. It’s like a song I can hear playing right in my ear that I can’t sing. I can’t help listening”.
This is exactly how I feel when people I love pass. We are born and ultimately we die, though it never gets easier and although we can’t sometimes understand this rollercoaster of life and death, it’s a path that has been gifted to us upon which we travel.
We get on with our lives, worrying about bills, putting food on the table, dealing with anxieties and stresses of the day-to-day and sometimes mundane and instead what we should be doing is smiling, greeting people with warmth and being the very best versions of ourselves. That’s one thing I learnt from Roy.
I’ll try to keep this brief, though this I ask of you: Be kind, be caring, be honest, don’t be mean about people behind their backs, love and support one another and be quick to lift each 0ther, rather than shoot people down. Travel more, read more, laugh more, dance like no-one is watching and tell your family and friends how much they mean to you; as you never know when the time will come that you won’t be able to hold their hand, give them a big, bear hug or share precious memories with them. After all, at the end all we have left is memories to treasure and I sure have many of all my grandparents and loved ones which have passed.
So if you’ve lost someone recently, it’s OK to cry, it’s OK to hurt, though take a deep breath and step back and think “I was so lucky to have that person pass through my lives journey”. Then be that person for someone else.