Having been off work for such a long time with (what I think is) a pathetic reason, I’ve become quite self loathing. I’ve never particularly had much love for myself, I’ve never given myself any sort of reason to, but I’ve recently come to consider myself a really loathesome little creature. Too scared to even choose a place to eat with Chris, anxiety attacks at the thought of inviting a friend to do something and so little faith in my abilities that I can’t even get beyond the very preliminary thoughts of doing anything worthwhile. On top of that is the overwhelming sense that even if I were to somehow come out on top, there wouldn’t be a place in the job market for a girl with no useful qualifications and a nearly two year gap on her CV. What motivation do I have to make the extra effort required?
Well, I might have found something. My granddad, my Dadcu, my mother’s father. I’ve never known him a healthy man, but he’s approaching his eighties now and it’s really been showing lately. Not so many months ago gout caused by diabeties meant he had a leg amputated at the knee. Some years before he was rushed to hospital for reasons that I can’t remember, but I know it was a close thing. Last night, the 29th of March, he had a heart attack. Today, he’s in a medically induced coma, fighting for his life.
In his own gruff way, he has always wanted the best for my brother and me. He bought me my first computer when I had to start writing essays for school. He was always generous with things he thought served a worthwhile purpose and I’ve spent my life drowning in myriad worlds of books and stories brought to me in part through his encouragement and generosity. He would give me the occassional £10 and whisper to me ‘Don’t tell your Grandmother’. He taught me pretty much everything I know about sports but always refused to teach me to cheat at cards.
I’ve seen him overcome so much, and I know he will overcome this latest threat. He wouldn’t leave my gran on her own like that; he promised me he’d look after her. He has to get better. I can’t let him go to the grave knowing his only granddaughter to be a failure. I have to show him I’m worth something, that all his encouragement wasn’t for naught, that the failure I’ve been so far isn’t all I’m ever going to be.
I don’t know what I’m going to do yet but it needs to be something that will make him proud to be my granddad. My Dadcu.
Henry Ronald Rees, late 70’s