My Nana thought he had another woman, but, much to her relief, my ninety year old Grandad had instead been writing a letter to the new Prime Minister, a letter he never got to finish.
On 25th September my much beloved Grandad passed away. It was time for him to go, he had suffered for too long, but that does not lessen the sadness we all feel. Life won’t be the same without him, but he lives on through his three children, eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren (with a fifth on the way). He had lived, in his words, a good life. Something I think we all aspire to, at least I do.
There will be posts following this one talking about how death impacts our life (they will be positive, I promise), but for now I want to pay tribute to my Grandad by sharing some of his most admirable qualities, qualities that I hope to emulate.
It’s sad how sometimes you don’t really know a person or recognise their contributions in life until they are gone. There’s a lesson to be learned there I’m sure. It was only after the funeral, when we were reminiscing and sharing stories about my Grandad that I really saw the man he was and what I could learn from how he lived his life.
His was not a life of privilege but he made the most of his opportunities. Born in Kearsley, Bolton, one of four children, he took responsibility for his brothers and sister at a young age, around ten years old, looking after them while his Father was at work and his Mother was in a sanatorium for her health. Having left school at the age of sixteen for family reasons, he continued his studies at night school and, once the war was over and he had returned from a stint of national service in the Middle East, he eventually completed his degree. He was still a student when he met his wife of 66 years, my Nana, and they got married, with their first child arriving three years later.
He went on to become a manager where he worked and, in a somewhat unorthodox move, he also became a member of the union. When questioned about his reasons for joining the union he said that there was no rule saying he couldn’t join and that he wanted his opinions to be heard, to have some influence from within the union. I was really struck by this story, by the strength of his desire to have his opinion heard and his willingness to find an unconventional way of making that possible. He had the courage of his convictions.
Another way that he managed to make his voice heard was through being a regular correspondent of Margaret Thatcher. He would frequently send her letters with his thoughts on how she was running the country and would even write back upon receiving her response. Even in his final days, when he was in and out of hospital, he still found the energy and desire to express his opinion, hence the half finished letter to Theresa May found by my Nana. He was still taking part in life even though he must have known that he didn’t have much time left. All the more reason I guess, no more time to waste.
Outside of politics and work he had many interests, from Ballroom Dancing to Bridge, and kept his mind and body active for as long as he could, playing golf and taking full advantage of free membership for the over eighties at his local gym. He was also an animal lover and a devoted family man.
So, what lessons can I learn from my Grandad?
Firstly, to value my opinions and recognise what I can contribute to this world. I believe that we are all here for a reason, it’s no coincidence that we ended up here, but it is down to us to make the most of the gifts we have been given and the opportunities we are presented with. He certainly did.
Secondly, to be all in. I have another post on the way that will expand on this, but, in short, there is no point being here in a half hearted way. For Grandad that meant playing the lottery until the end of his days and starting one final letter to the Prime Minister, for you it will probably mean something entirely different.
Thirdly, be a Victor not a Victim. Don’t sit back and complain about your lot, rather find a way to have your say, to make your voice heard, to influence the world around you. Be at the cause of your life, not the effect.
I chose to create this business so that I could encourage myself and others to see things differently, to believe that we can all choose how we live this life. Perhaps in some way I have my Grandad to thank for that.
In loving memory of Gordon Worsley
Beloved Husband, Brother, Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather.
1926 – 2016