Iesha Small

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Fitzgerald Small-A Life lived Well

Taken at Dungeness, Kent

Grandad didn’t say much. A carpenter, a handyman, he was the person you turned to get things done. He was the strong, silent type.

But I know what he loved. He loved his God, he loved his wife, he loved his family. How do I know? Because, to Grandad, love was an action, not just a feeling. Love was stability, love was providing, and he did these things.

Grandad was a constant presence in my life as a child, well into my teens and early adulthood. He drove us to church once a week, then we’d go home to Nan’s and eat. When you do that, you build a relationship with somebody. A quiet relationship, an unflashy relationship, a deep relationship.

Some relationships are complicated; you don’t know where you stand. My relationship with Grandad wasn’t that. It was straightforward. I felt a deep, reliable, unconditional love from him, and I felt it until he died.

In the modern world, it’s unusual to find people comfortable with silence. Grandad was fine with silence, much to Nan’s distress. We could sit in companionable silence in the dining room – me on the sofa, him in his special green chair – and I felt perfectly at ease. He was a calming presence.

Since Grandad died, I’ve found myself drawn to the sea. He believed in a vast, eternal God, and the sea is powerful – one of the few things in our world that’s unchanging, and we can’t tame.

By the sea, I’m reminded of how small I am. By the sea, I’ve cried to tell my Grandad how much I miss him. By the sea, I’ve felt calm, as I used to when sitting with him in the dining room.

I didn’t know how to end this, or even if I’d be able to finish reading it. But I want to remind you that if each of us can touch even one life in the way Grandad did, then we will have lived well.

If each of us can touch even one life in the way Grandad did, then we will have lived well. Share on X


My grandad died in January 2020 before the Coronavirus  (COVID19) outbreak. My nan said “Iesha, you’re good with words. Write something for grandad’s funeral.” So I did.

I’m glad we were able to meet as a family, on the day that he died, at his nine night and at his funeral. We were able to comfort each other and celebrate his life with hugs, tears and laughter and physical closeness. My heart goes out to people who lose people they care about during this time and will not have the luxury of healing, soothing and calming touch during their time of grief.

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Fitzgerald Small-A Life lived Well