For many March 1st is just the same as the start of any other month, but it’s actually St David’s Day– the patron saint of Wales incase you didn’t know. I personally think it’s a bit of a shame that everyone takes advantage of St Patrick’s day even though they’re not Irish but people don’t bat an eyelid for St David’s, St Andrew’s or even St George’s day. March 1st for me and my family isn’t just St David’s day but it’s the birthday of my Grandpa, my mum’s dad who sadly passed away when I was just eight years old.
A lot of my family say that I am very much like him, I am constantly learning and educating myself through additional courses and pushing myself to do better which is something he did. Despite having barely any qualifications at school he went back to night school to get his exams when my mum and auntie were children so that he could get a good job and provide for his family. Back in the 60’s this wasn’t a common thing to want to better your education and this reflected in his later career.
I can say with absolute certainty that my love for reading definitely comes from him as no one else in my family is like this. Every year at Christmas when presents are unwrapped and dinner is being made I’ll lose myself in a book I’ve been bought and not even notice what’s going on around me with people talking, the TV blaring out and even people trying to talk to me. Although our reading material would have been vastly different I do feel like I’m continuing his legacy a bit each time I finish a book.
I’ve also been told that my inability to laugh at myself is quite similar to my Grandpa (and my mum) but sadly as I was so young each year I seem to remember less and less about him. I remember the days when I was younger of staying around my grandparent’s house and running into their bedroom in the morning to get cuddles, and I remember the Christmas’ we’d spend together as I tried to feed everyone plastic food from my new toy kitchen.
But more than anything I remember the end. Like many other courageous people out there my Grandpa died of cancer, but despite him having an inkling we didn’t know until the very end. I remember him being at my Nan’s house on his last days and I remember the funeral and telling myself at eight years old to not cry because I needed to be strong for my family.
A lot of the time I wonder what he would think of me now and whether he’d be proud of what I have achieved with my life. I’m not a religious person at all but it would be nice to think that there is something after we die and that he is looking down on me and can see how my life is progressing and panning out. Would he agree with the life choices I had made? Would he have been proud of my university degree or would he have influenced me subconsciously to have done something more traditionally academic?
Would he have hated my tattoos as much as the rest of my family or would he secretly have loved my body artwork? And would he have commended me for always being on the go as opposed to being worried that I am burning the candle at both ends? These are all questions which will never go answered but all I do know is that I hope where ever he is that he’s proud of the person I have become.
Almost all of us have experienced the devastating consequences of cancer and each year strides are being made to prevent people dying but it doesn’t make things any less traumatic.