I went to my Grandpa Geoff's funeral on Wednesday. He died of pneumonia a couple of weeks ago. It's very sad but not a surprise; he's had Parkinson's for years, and when he struggled to get over a bout of pneumonia at Christmas, we had a feeling that he wouldn't have long left.
At funerals you always get to learn about the sides of people you never knew when they were alive. I found out that Geoff joined the RAF in the Second World War and went to Norfolk to work as a mechanic on the planes. He was also married three times over the course of his life, and so had a long, extended family that I've only just met.
Personally, I didn't know Geoff until the early 1990s. Technically he was my step-grandpa; he and my nan married when I was about 9 years old and I was one of their bridesmaids. I didn't know what to make of him at first, this strange, new man in my family, but he became my grandpa over the years. I knew him as a very laid-back, quiet sort of a person who never really let anything get him riled up. But as my aunt said, he did have a humorous side, and every now and then, when something amused him, he'd give you a secret, cheeky smile with a twinkle in his eye, as if you were sharing the joke just between the two of you.
Goodbye, Grandpa Geoff. I'll miss you. But I doubt you were very happy or comfortable near the end when your illness got worse so perhaps this was for the best.
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