Pen-blwydd Hapus, Tad-cu

Today marks, what would’ve been my Tad-cu’s (grandad) 75th birthday. Despite this being the third birthday that he’s been gone, the loss is still immense, and I don’t think any of us as a family have stopped missing him.

The truth is, my Tad-cu was an incredibly inspirational man. He was kind, polite and respectful and he’s certainly left a legacy.

My Tad-cu did many things in his lifetime such as working as a History and Welsh teacher, to then working at the BBC, and lastly becoming Head of Public Relations for the Welsh Assembly. Not to mention the trilogy he wrote on Owain Glyndwr that has recently been published.

I’m sure from the above, it is very clear that he was an intelligent man. However, that’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about my Tad-cu, who he was and the lessons he taught me.

Despite my Tad-cu being an intelligent man, he really did some ridiculous things in the 16 years that I knew him and was certainly easy to fool…

An example of this would be the time my sister and I fooled him on holiday by making him believe there was something wrong with the light – we, unknowingly to him, had a light switch that controlled his and my Min-gu’s (grandmother) room, in our room.

So for 7 days, we managed to convince him there was something wrong with the light in their room. We’d wait until night time and then begin turning the light on and off with the switch in our room. Needless to say, he truly did fall for it!

Despite being on antidepressants himself, he always provided a safe place for me. A place I could go to when I needed to be comforted or needed to escape.

During my GCSE’s, a period that was ‘stressful’ at the time, I’d often go to my Min-gu and Tad-cu’s simply to have a laugh and to relax.

So what did my Tad-cu teach me over all those years?

1. Even when life is bad to you, you can always make room for a laugh. You just need the right people to laugh with.

2. Parson’s pasties are better than Gregg’s….

3. Don’t talk with your hands or you’ll knock things over. Like Tad-cu did many, MANY times e.g – wine on the table, sausages on the floor, breakfast spilt in a posh Hilton hotel… The list goes on!!

4. If you’re out for food, don’t wrap your false tooth in tissue or it’ll get taken away when the waiters/waitresses clear your plates. Yes that really did happen.

5. Always take your hearing aid out before having a shower or they’ll get water damage and break. That also happened.

6. No matter how old you get by age, stay young at heart. I think the picture below can sum this one up.

7. Leaves fall off the tree’s in the Winter so that they don’t weigh the tree’s down, especially as it’s windy etc. That one is true!

8. Anything is possible once you put your mind to it, a change of career, or writing your own book.

9. Never put your backpack in the boot of a taxi as you’re more than likely to leave it there. Especially when it contains an iPad. This one also happened. Cyprus 2010!

10. Don’t read a newspaper whilst walking or you will most probably walk in to something aka the conservatory door..

11. Never stop showing that you care. Whether it’s a relationship, or a friendship. No matter how settled you get, never stop showing how much you love or care for that person. He was an expert at this one. I don’t think anyone showed love and care better than my Tad-cu did.

12. If you want to make friends with a dog, feed it under the table!!

13. If you’re going to use a walk in bath, make sure to close the door before running the taps. Or the water will run out into the hallway and leave an enormous patch of wet. Don’t keep it a secret from your wife either. She will notice. Correct, this happened too. I was told to keep it a secret despite the big, obvious and soaking patch that even made a squelching noise as you walked across it..

14. When you sit at first class on the train, let the waiters/waitresses do what they’ve got to do. Don’t move the cup as the waiter is pouring the coffee. Do I even need to confirm if that happened?!

15. Don’t wear a hat whilst on a lake cruise because it’ll most probably blow off and you’ll never see it again..

16. You’re never too old for Animal board shorts, or a Hawaiian T shirt, or a guitar or all put together..

17. Always believe that you are James Bond himself, even if you aren’t.

18. If someone’s not willing to get up in the morning. Give them the wet flannel. Once this happened and I knew better for the next time!

19. You’re never too old to read a Cosmopolitan magazine…

20. Take naps. Anytime you want!!

21. Live your life. Laugh when you can. Cry if you need to. Life is for living and Tad-cu certainly did just that. He was silly 99% of the time but that’s what made him so lovable and hilarious.

It does make me sad that my Tad-cu isn’t around to see me growing as a person. To see me writing these blog posts. To teach me my first driving lesson. To celebrate the end of my A Levels. To see me start my first full time job. To meet my insanely loving and lovely boyfriend.

However, I know that somewhere, he can see myself and the family, all of us. I know that he is watching down proudly on all of us and I know for sure that he isn’t in pain wherever he is now.

Grief is really difficult. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Only the person grieving can know what’s best for them to do to help them get by.

Writing this post is what has helped me today, as I remember the man who had such a positive impact on my life. It’s the words that I never got to say to him when he was here.

Pen-blwydd hapus Tad-cu, colli ti mwy a mwy bob dydd.

Ciao for now x

Posted by

Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.