Monday, September 17, 2007

Farewell, Grandad

My grandad, Jack Dowsett, died today. He was 90.

Grandad was a real gentleman, full of dignity, an understated class act. I’m not sure they make them like him anymore.

Just yesterday, as we waited for the end, I went in search of some record of his having lived and found this, a first-hand account of his experiences during WWII.

We grew up hundreds of miles away from my grandparents, and so my memories are relatively few. But they are happy ones.

Of being allowed to dip my finger in his beer, at family get-togethers when we were small…

Of practicing cricket in a park with grandad, my dad, and my younger brother…

Of being picked up from the railway station in his Jaguar…

Of ‘Dowsett Olympics’ – an annual event, in my grandparents garden when they lived in Whitstable and we were very young; featuring obstacle races between the cousins, the Dowsett boys and the Carter girls; and all recorded by grandad on cinecamera…

Of how, when he was older and his hearing was not what it had been, he would acknowledge things you had said that you knew he hadn’t fully heard, just because he understood how important it was for people to know they had been listened to…

And, much more recently, of him reading to Susannah, sat on his lap, and Noah, and holding Elijah in his arms…

Farewell, grandad. We love you.

God, have mercy on the soul of the departed,
for the sake of the living.
God, have mercy on those left behind,
who grieve this parting.
Lord, grant a clean release
To the dead, and those who survive them.
God, have mercy.


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