It has been 7 years since my grandfather passed away, and today is 7 years to the day when we laid him to rest. His funeral will always remain one of the hardest and most agonising days of my life, when I followed his coffin, accompanied by bagpipes, out of the church and wanted to throw myself on the floor and cry for hours.
He was 71 years older than me, but one of the best friends I ever had. We laughed at silly things together, watched TV shows that he would never have heard of or understood, discussed homework and generally just enjoyed each others’ company. If only I could show you pictures of us from my childhood – I wish I had more, but all I have in Scotland is the above.
He had a construction business and was a prominent New Zealand businessman, but to me and my siblings and cousins, he was just Dandan. So warm, so loving, so kind. He
meant means so much to me.
I think it is bittersweet, living in his homeland. I see him in others; I see my ancestry in the place names I read every day. I feel my Scottishness more than ever before: I belong here in so many ways. I will always be a Kiwi but this place calls to me and pulls me with its beauty and ruggedness; I feel such a sentimental attachment to this country.
So today. Happy 100th birthday, Dandan. I will do my best to carry you in my memories, as hard as it is these days (so grateful for all my journalling/blogging). May I continue to make you proud.
Edited to add the below photographs I found from stored ancestry research I’d forgotten… (sorry about the small size):
With my grandmother before they were married.