YOU’RE so like him, Seán. Your Grandad Joe.
You’re so like him, although you never met him. He died one year ago today, seven weeks before you were born. I was willing him to hold on, so that he could meet you, but it wasn’t to be.
But I’m reminded of him every day when I watch you. The way you sit in your high chair to eat, one leg tucked up underneath you, or a foot propped up on the tray. The same way he used to sit in his armchair.
The way you can sleep anywhere, regardless of the noise level. Just drop off, the way he used to.
Your fascination with shite gameshows. The way you sit transfixed in front of Pointless and The Chase and Winning Streak, the way he used to.
He would have loved you, of course, because you’re his Grandson and you’re mine but more than that, I think he would have liked you too.
He would have liked how happy and smiley you are, your chuckle, your curiosity, the way you hold your arms up for a cuddle. He would have liked how you enjoy your food and explore your toys. He would have been proud to watch shite gameshows with you.
I feel so cheated that he missed out on you. And you him. I feel cheated that he didn’t get to hold you as a tiny newborn, that he didn’t get to watch you grow. I feel cheated that you never got to taste your first sup of sweet tea from his cup, like your cousins did.
I feel cheated that he didn’t live long enough to see me become a mother.
This past year has passed in the blink of an eye, he’s gone and you’re here and that is both painful and joyous at the same time. I’ve spent today looking back and wishing that things were different. That something could have been done. Asking myself what I could have done.
I am heartsick – but I have to stop looking back and start to look forward now. To a life without him. But to a life with you. And that gives me hope.
I hope that you continue to be like him, Seán. I hope that you grow up to be kind and gentle and hardworking and funny and loyal and great craic and your own man. The way he used to be.
Goodbye Dad. And thank you.