He looks different, as he suddenly grew older overnight…
Every time I go home, I make time to go see my grandpa. Not out of obligation but of love and admiration.
He is my only grandparent still alive. I’ve never met my dad’s parents, my dad’s auntie, the legendary giagia Frosou died a couple of years ago and my favourite grandma Stella, pappou Costas’s wife died when I was 9.
Grandpa Costas was always there growing up not just on special occasions but in our every day lives. He would take us on bike rides, or down town on a Saturday morning to wander in the market and get us a freshly baked pastry and oven baked eggs for breakfast, one of my most cherished memories. I can still remember the excitement of waking up early to go with pappou Costas in old Nicosia. Everyone knew him!
A proud but sensitive man who is not ashamed to cry, so innocent and sweet he loves everyone. He still remembers some of his Turkish he used to communicate with his fellow Turkish Cypriots shepherds before 1974, when life was simple.
He is still in great form now, in his 80s but he is getting older and I’m terrified the fragility that comes of old age might take him away from us at any point.
The sudden realisation of growing old. He is getting older, I’m getting older. Such a poignant, profound acknowledgement.
I last saw him in September, on a warm Thursday morning, and it was the first time I noticed his walking. Slow and a bit disoriented. Normal for his age, but not pleasant to see.
He sometimes forgets where he is or what time of the day he is, he is categorically refusing to wear glasses although he needs them, but he still makes us laugh when we least expect it.
I was thinking when I saw him on that day whether I should take a picture of him, whilst he still remembers us and has (relative) clarity of mind but he may not want to so I didn’t ask.
And, as if he read my mind, out of the blue, he says: ‘Do you want to take one of those ‘selfies’ together?’ The rest of the family have taught him well!
I couldn’t believe it. And of course I did. He then asked to see it, checked he looked OK, although we all knew he can’t really see properly.
This recent memory, so simple, although bittersweet makes me smile when I can’t find a way out of my mind’s labyrinth.