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Flus and funerals…

Long time no see!

Well, maybe not that long.

Usually, you can catch my latest blog on the first Tuesday of every month, unfortunately, last week we had some glitches with the website (this is a business owner’s rite of passage, surely?) and I was also unwell. So, thanks for bearing with me, but I think we’re well due for a catch-up!

On top of the winter ills and chills, the last month or so has been particularly draining for me as both of my grandads were admitted to hospital, and sadly my dad’s dad passed away.

I’m not a fan of goodbyes, and death is the worst kind of goodbye, even when the person we’re saying goodbye to has lived a long and full life. That being said, I always treasure the grieving process as a heartbreakingly beautiful time for reflection, introspection, and personal growth, and I feel especially lucky to be able to feel through my emotions at my own pace, thanks to my wonderful job and my lovely clients - so thank you for being part of that.

My dad’s dad was “The Mythical Grandad” for most of my childhood. He lived in Las Vegas and gambled professionally, the photos and updates I saw of him came in the form of casino webpages showing their latest winners. He was highly intelligent, a gifted card counter, a history buff, and an explorer.

But more than all of those things, he was a good person (maybe the casinos would disagree, but people in glass houses and all). He cared deeply for his family and every time I’d visit, he’d spend time showing me his walls which were plastered with photos, artwork, and newspaper clippings, a kind of shrine to all of the people and things he held dear.

I don’t think we can ask for much more than to be remembered as good people, but the thing I’ll remember the most about him is his hands. When he left Las Vegas, he came to stay with us for a while. By this time, I was approaching my early teens, and it was the first time we’d seen each other since I was a baby, so essentially the first time I’d met him. Straight away I remember noting that his hands were like carbon copies of my dad’s. Same fingers, same nails, just a few more wrinkles and blemishes. Unknown hands that couldn’t have been more familiar.

It’s funny the things we remember.

Comparatively, my mum’s dad who is still in hospital currently, lived very close to us all of my life, and I’ve had the pleasure of making countless memories with him over the years. Some of these memories are vividly coloured with the imagination of childhood, and some, more recent, are tinted with the sadness of knowing no one can live forever; a wishing well in the garden of his house; a cat who stole teddies and slippers from the neighbours (and a shelf where my grandad proudly displayed the abductees); missing fingernails (and that’s why you shouldn’t play with explosives, or misuse skill saws); games of beer pong and croquet at Christmas; presents wrapped in silver paper, my name written with a looping "G"; still skiing into his 90s; and the hollering of “Right-o!” as a kind of goodbye - maybe he hates goodbyes just as much as me…

Selfishly, both of my grandads are an important part of my own story, so their ageing feelings like the dusk of a very important chapter in my life, but more than that, they are two men who’ve lived incredible lives, who’ve helped people, loved people, and embarked on all kinds of adventures, only some of which I’ll ever be privy to, the rest I can only imagine…

A watercolour illustration of a castle near the ocean painted by Ella Gordon.

Odescalchi Castle, near Ladispoli. Where my dad's dad lived, worked, and raised his young family.

Back to regularly scheduled posts next month, so tune in then if you’d like my top tips to illustrate your own children’s book, or join my mailing list so you never miss a post!

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