When I was 18, I discovered you were not my biological grandfather.
It would be easy to imagine that I might have felt upset, or sad. In fact, I felt nothing but gratitude. Gratitude for the knowing and understanding that blood isn't always thicker than water. Gratitude for having learned that under whatever circumstances you came to be my grandfather, you had never treated me any different from my cousins, that you had loved me whoeheartedly.
For the last 32 years I have felt cherished and adored by you, not a day has passed that you have not called, written me a letter, sent packages of sweets for the children, sleepsuits for the baby or your favourite - random useful gifts, wooden spoons and clothes pegs, a tube of No Nails or whatever random object you deemed I may need. I have always felt touched by the throughtfulness you have shown, those small gifts meant so much to me.
My life has been so much richer for you having been a part of it. My childhood is peppered with sweet memories of our time together, I will never forget all that you were and all that you mean to me, all that you had done and all that you gave. All that I have learned from your wisdom and that which I have yet to learn from your passing.
Whilst I feel desperately sad in you leaving us, I am grateful that you got your wish, that you are no longer in pain and can join Nana Ann, finally, it's what you wanted.
Your final words to me will forever resound in my ears like a beating heart, I am so glad we had that chance, and that you left me with those sweet words for all eternity.
Thank you for the gift of love, for showing me that our hearts can weigh heavy with the same joy and affection normally reserved for those born from our own. You were everything a grandad could be, to me you were perfect.
Loving you forever XxX