In 2003 I lost my Grandfather..Jack McMillan. I was a bit heartbroken, to say the least. I had only got to really know him during the last few years of his life, and had found him to be a richly interesting and loving human being. Highly intelligent and emotionally engaging. He loved Cricket and Football and would often have a radio to one ear listen to the cricket, whilst watching/listening to the football results on the television with the other. He had seen me perform in a school play when I was 17 and still, ten years on, kept the video as a permanent fixture by the TV. He loved Judy Garland as did I, and shared many of my interests! He shared with me anedotes of his life and told me about my late Grandmother Grace, whom I had never met, as she had died in a car accident before I was born. He was an old fashioned gentleman, and I am proud to call him my grandfather. Sharp as a pin!
Then he had a fall. I didn’t really understand the seriousness of it at the time, but travelled halfway across the country to be at his bedside. He deteriorated (something to do with the angle he was at in bed, though I don’t really understand).The last thing he said was “Goodnight” to me. I am so grateful that I got chance to say goodbye.
During the funeral it came to fruition that he had actually been a codebreaker at Bletchley Park during the War and a captain in the Army. He was such a modest man, but this was truly a great accolade…..he had been recruited because he was able to solve a virtually unsolvable crossword in a British paper.He really was pivotal in helping defeat Hitler and the Nazi’s. he had also been stationed in India and Sri Lanka and had developed a love of curries.
I miss him still, as I am sure that my Dad does. I hope that some of my Grandparents live on in my children who I chose to name Jack and Grace McMillan-Kemp and they are wonderful beyond compare or imagination.
All through his time in hospital I was listening to a new album that I had puchased. Eva Cassidy. Two songs linked into my associations and still make me think of Grandad…..I miss you Grandad..sleep well..this one’s for you. I hope that you are proud of what I have achieved and how hard I work everyday to make a better life for my children.