At a time when so many young people of Britain are furious with the older generation for condemning them to a future they simply do not want, I miss my grandparents more than ever. Like most families across the UK, mine has been fractured by last week’s EU referendum. I say fractured, rather than broken, because actually we all managed to vote the same way (Remain) on June 23rd. But it is testament to the absurdity and messiness of this whole Brexit business that, just three days later, some of us are still in a state of utter grief and loss while others have done a total 360 and decided that they are happy to be leaving the European Union after all. But this is not a post about the dire state of affairs post referendum. It is a post about how much I miss my Grandad, and how desperately I wish he was here to see all of this.
There has been some debate about how exactly you would have voted, Grandad. We all pretty much agree that it would have been a heartfelt ‘Leave’ for the ‘Great’ Britain you so loved to talk about, but I have a sneaky feeling that you might have found it a little bit more difficult than we’re imagining. Either way, I know you would have voiced some fiercely strong opinions. I know you would have given us dates, names and numbers, tapped us on the knee to punctuate your every point, done a lot of finger-pointing, and driven us mad with rhetorical questions. I know I would have rolled my eyes and shook my head and nearly lost my mind with some of your rants about young people today, and that we would all have stayed irate about the things you’d said hours after you’d left.
There have been times over the last few weeks when I have wanted to hear your voice so badly that it physically hurts. When I can almost hear the car engine as you pull up outside the house and begin your slow walk to the porch. The questions I have for you are stuck in my throat, hurting because they are left dead and unspoken. I am desperate for you to disagree with me, to hear me, to argue with me, even to infuriate me. Every time we talk about it, every time I think of a new reason to be angry, or disappointed, or confused, I pine for your input. I don’t think I have ever missed you so much.
This is your arena, Grandad! Your playing field. History, and politics, and the government, and debate, and public opinion. You should be here. And I just wanted you to know that I feel your absence- acutely. I feel it all the time. I hope you are proud of us all for voting. For being passionate. For doing our research. Especially of Christina, who uses you as her example so often. And of Beth, who has never cared until now but has discovered what it is like to invest, and hope, and believe in something bigger, only to be on the losing side. I hope you can hear Mom and the way she stands up for you and what you believed in, and how she listens to all of us despite our conflicting views. I hope you’re missing us as much as we are missing you.
Nan, I know you won’t be wishing you were in the middle of all this. But not having you to turn to after a heated family argument is really, really hard. I want you to be sat there, patient and quietly irritated, waiting for us to talk about something nicer. I want you to be huffing about how they’ve cancelled Eastenders again so that those politicians can have another row on TV. I don’t think I ever realised the starring role you played in these difficult times, or how we clung to you as a lovely and loving escape from all the noise. I realise now.
And it makes me think of all the other things. Of how, if you’re not here now, to see all this turmoil and fuss, then you won’t be here to see all the happy times either. I’ve thought about it all before, of course, I just wanted you to know that I still do. That every single day is less special because my grandparents are not in it. That every single day I feel lucky to have grown up with both of you in my life. I miss you fiercely, some days more than others. Today is one of those days when missing you makes my day that little bit sadder. But mostly, I just wanted to tell you that thinking about you always makes my heart feel fuller. And in times like these, when the world and the people in it can feel all messed up and disconnected, I am so grateful that I have our memories. They always make me feel better.