Pa was many things to many different people in his life.
He was a father, a husband, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, a colleague, a friend.
One thing he was to all, was a light.
He brought joy. He brought laughter. He bought love into the lives of those he touched.
As a man, and throughout his life, Pa encapsulated the very best of life – love, fun and family.
He was the head of the family,
And he was one half of a dynamic duo that brightened my life every day.
As grandparents, together he and Mama were a beacon of love, light and care.
The ones who spoiled us grandkids with croissants for breakfast and endless hugs.
Who fed us until we couldn’t eat anymore, and bought us our first bikes.
As grandkids, we all thought Pa was our little secret.
A man who we loved to bring to Grandparents Day at school and show off to our friends, bragging that he was ours.
But it turned out that our secret wasn’t much of a secret at all.
Pa was able to succeed in the business world all around the globe, and was held in high regard by all of those who interacted with him in and out of the boardroom.
This was the same man who grew up in a broken home with little else but the undying love of his mother and his sister.
In a family who couldn’t afford the wool to knit a collar onto his football jersey in the winter, the love Pa received everyday, unconditionally from his mum and sister was all he needed as the foundation for him to grow his life upon.
The same man that would fall asleep on the couch every night after dinner, fought tooth and nail to make something of himself.
The man who my cousin and I would subject to our ‘hairdressing salon’, spiking his hair into all manner of styles with hair mousse, while he snored away, was the same one who worked his way up, step by step, to gain the respect of the business elite.
At home, and at work, in two completely different worlds – Pa was a winner.
Though as children, we didn’t know this side to Pa.
To us, he was simply the one who would take our dinner plates when we weren’t looking and hide them under the table.
Towards the end of his life, throughout his battle with an insidious illness, which took him away from us, piece by piece, Pa also gave to us a different gift.
He gave his children and his grandchildren the gift of being able to take care of him.
He gave us the opportunity to try to repay an unrepayable debt.
He took care of our grandma, of our parents, and of us for so long,
He built and shaped our family, and we revered in the opportunity to be there for him when he needed us most.
Throughout his time with us, Pa taught us what was really important in life.
Whether it was the sight of a perfectly pruned rose garden, or time spent together as a family, it didn’t take much to put a smile on his face.
He taught us to appreciate the simpler things in life.
And towards the end of his life was when we learned this from him most.
Whether it was the sheer joy that came with his eyes lighting up when he saw you walk in to visit him, or even just the squeeze of a hand when it was all he had left to give.
Nothing was taken for granted, or treasured more, as when Pa gave it to you.
He lives on now, through his family.
In the memories we share.
In the thoughts we have.
And in the photographs and clothing that we all hold just a little tighter now.
It was a long road to goodbye – but we wish our journey together could have lasted forever.
More articles I’ve written about Pa throughout the years: