Saturday 26 January 2008

Frank Grant 1927-2008

Dorothy and Frank with Sean and Finn in April 2005My Uncle Frank died suddenly yesterday at the age of 80. It was quite a shock as he was always fit and healthy, having retired with my Aunt Dorothy to a top-floor flat some years ago and still a regular on his bike and at the swimming. He went out for the milk and rolls yesterday morning and didn't return. He was such a creature of habit, Dorothy sensed something was wrong and phoned the hospital. The police later turned up at her door with the sad news.

When I was young, Frank was always quite a fearsome character. He hailed from Elgin and was a "big Heilan' polis", working for Strathclyde police until his retiral. He was strict and fastidious, the epitome of a policeman. He was very handy at painting and decorating and a gardener of some renown, tending his prize-winning stepped garden which bordered the "zig-zag" path up towards Braehead from Glenburn Crescent. And he also kept bees for a while. I remember being quite proud when Tullochs, the local butcher at Skye Crescent shops, was selling jars of honey with F.Grant printed on the labels.

Frank was always active and still looked fit when I last saw him at Billy's funeral last April. He and Dorothy used to help out at Comrie House, where my Gran Barr lived out the last few years of her life before she passed away in 1992, but it got to the stage where they were almost older than some of the residents. Frank was a homebird and liked his routines. Not for him the foreign jaunts that Dorothy likes to embark upon.

When you are the youngest of the litter, as I am, and you effectively move away from your home town at the end of your schooling, and your own parents die when you are relatively young, it's at times like this you realise how little you do know about some of your family members and how much you have let contact with them dwindle. Sharon has a similar problem in a way, being the eldest of all her cousins and almost stranded between her parents' siblings and her own generation. But the sense of family and community she carries with her is much stronger than in me and something she misses greatly living here in Scotland. She is far better than me at keeping in touch with the important people in your life, your family.

You always think you'll see people again, but sometimes you leave it too late.

For now, my thoughts are with Dorothy and the terrible shock of suddenly losing Frank, and with Wendy and Grigor.

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