Today would have been John’s 80th birthday. Because we would be travelling home from Cornwall today, we wished him ‘Happy Birthday’ yesterday, after a lovely sunny day on Polzeath beach, with a traditional Victoria Sponge for tea.
But early this morning, Rachael reminded me it was her Grandpa’s Special Day today. So we looked at the photos on this website together, and she recognised her Grandpa’s voice on the World Service radio link I played to her. And she talked about the photo she has of her Grandpa building bricks with her, and she remembered him with Mr Handkerchief, and coming to our 50th Wedding Anniversary lunch, and the last birthday we all celebrated with him in her garden in Didcot, and the flags at his memorial service, and the lifeboat from which we scattered his ashes off Harwich, when she was there at the Lifeboat Station with all her cousins.
And I was so pleased that she had all these memories, since she was only four when John died, and also so glad that this website will be there for her to read when she is older, to help her know who her Grandpa was, and what he did in his life, and the impact he had on those who knew and loved him, and on the world around him.
On the long drive back from Cornwall, I played some of the romantic Richard Tauber songs John used to play to me when we first knew each other, and cried a little, and missed him a lot. But when I got home, the roses he had planted at keast 20 years ago in our front garden had come into bloom while I was away, and they were a beautiful memory of him too.