It’s me, Sophie, your granddaughter. You don’t recognise who I am anymore. I know who you are, but you aren’t the same.
I wish I could have told you so many things before you developed dementia. There are things I wish I could have said when you would have been able to comprehend, but finding out that you’d lose the knowledge you taught me was heartbreaking. I remember sitting together on a number of afternoons during my childhood going through your chemistry books and you explaining your time working at a chemical plant. And how you studied for two years to get a diploma.
You were my teacher and now I want to teach you something: you are my drive in terms of my education.
From a young age, you drummed into me that school was the most important thing. And that I shouldn’t take school for granted and I should get good grades. I’m at university now, Grandad. I made it! I’m training to be a journalist. It’s not science, I know; I’m not as passionate as you were. I know you’d be proud if you understood. I’m getting the best grades I can – I got a B last year. I know you’d say why didn’t you get an A? But I’m trying my best. That’s all you ever wanted for me – the best.
It hurts that you won’t be there on my graduation day. You won’t be able to watch me walk across the stage and put the cap on my head in celebration of my achievements. It really hurts. I’ll be graduating in blue, one of the colours you like so that’s a visual reminder that you’re there with me somehow. But I’ll think of you on graduation day because I’ll be graduating as a dedication to you and your life’s work – even though I’ll not be a BSc – I’ll be a BA. And no – not a ‘Bloody Arsehole’, as you’d say!
Once graduation is over I still won’t stop. Education is my safe place, because it reminds me of you. And that’s why I will get my Masters and my PHD – for you. I’ll do it for myself, of course, but I want to get my PhD because it’ll be the ultimate dedication to you. It’ll be the highest I can go – take it as an A grade if you will – and it will be the best thing I can give to you. Because you’ve given me so much. More than I could give you in return.
I work hard because you instilled that in me. I push myself to the limit because you instilled that in me. I am who I am because of you. You perfectionist, confident so-and-so!
Thank you for being the light of my life. When your light dims forever, I’ll keep mine shining for you as a thank you.
I love you always and forever. I know if you could tell me, you’d say the same too.