Took for granted...
Having been brought up by a single mother, whom I never got on with at the best of times, was difficult. She met and married a man who presumed the role of my father since I was the age of 3. His family welcomed me into their lives and treated me as they treated my sister and brothers who followed.
Unfortunately, due to the ever-deteriorating relationship between my mother and I, I began to feel segregated from my family, and therefore toward the end of my teens decided to break all contact with them, leaving my siblings and grandparents behind.
Two years or so on, I received a phone call from my sister informing me of the bad news that my Grandad had died. She had awoken in the early morning to find him struggling for breath; and despite the paramedics best efforts at CPR, they failed to resuscitate him.
I guess, what I really want to describe is how I took my Grandfather's presence for granted. It never occurred to me how much of an influence he had on me growing up. I remember he was a watercolour artist, and taught me how to paint. He took me in as his own flesh and blood, and I never got the opportuity to thank him for it. Or at least I ran out of time to.
It has been a huge wake up call, and I suppose it's true that you cannot pick your family; but regardless, each and everyone of us should embrace those in our lives and be thankful for the time we have with them. The death of my Grandfather is very sad indeed, but it has also given me a new perspective, and I now intend to regain the relationships with my family members.
So thank you Grandad x