#BEDA Day Five: A Vivid Memory

I wrote this post on my other blog over three years ago, but the memory of the event is as real to me now as it was then. It’s the first memory I thought of when I read today’s prompt and I really don’t feel I could answer this prompt with anything else.

Here’s my account of my most vivid memory. The death of my beloved grandad.

I wasn’t even the one to answer the phone that morning. I didn’t take the call that will forever scar my memories.

It was Thursday 11th February, 1999. It was 7.30am, and I was 17 years old.

I wore black tailored trousers, a cotton top and had my slipper socks on but not my shoes. I was getting ready to go to college. My first class would be Sociology.

I heard the phone ring, and was surprised because it was so early. It was a short call, from my Grandma. I didn’t hear her words, or the devastation in her voice, but I know it was there.

The sound I heard just seconds after the shrill tone of the phone was my Mum’s voice. Filled with panic and disbelief, she shouted out:

‘My Dad’s Dead.’

A statement rather than a question, though not intended to inform me of the news. My Mum’s words were purely a reaction to the news she had received during that 20 second phone call. Words that will never leave me.

We ran down the stairs and to the car. My sister had already gone out to school so it was just the two of us. My mum had a red Vauxhall Corsa at the time and it was quite old. I remember telling her to slow down over the speed bumps – a silly thing to say in hindsight but I don’t think we’re fully in control of what comes out of our mouths when we’re in shock.

When we arrived at my Grandma’s house (which is literally around the corner) my Mum went upstairs to my Grandad. I never saw him myself, preferring to keep my fond memories and avoid them being overshadowed with any more sad ones.

There was a flurry of phone calls; people being called home from work and a call to the GP. The police arrived too, which seemed a bit strange to me, though I was reassured that it was ‘routine’ in those circumstances.

My uncle came to pick me up and we drove to college to collect my cousin. He knew, somehow. He knew what was wrong before I told him. I’ve always thought that was very odd.

Then I was out on another visit, to another family member. A lot of the events that day were a bit of a blur. This time it was my mum’s youngest sister. It was me and my mum breaking the news this time. We went in the back door, and I walked through to the lounge where my youngest cousin was. He was 10, and doted on our Grandad.

I didn’t want to tell him – I really didn’t think it was my place to be honest, but when he heard his mother scream and break down I knew I didn’t really have a choice. I don’t remember the words I used, or what he said in return.
My auntie is a foster carer, and I found myself walking to school with the children she had there at the time. We played i-spy all the way there, and I told the headmistress of the circumstances at home.

Then I walked back to my Grandma’s alone.

I didn’t cry once. Not that day. Not on the day of the unforgettable phone call.

I’m linking up once again to #BEDAOutmumbered as we blog our way through August. I look forward to reading about my fellow bloggers’ vivid memories!


  1. Heartbreaking. But I bet you kept mum strong on that day and by taking the kids to school probably eased the smaller stressed of what was a horrible day for them xx

  2. Such a heartbreaking memory, it is the sad memories sometimes that are often our most vivid ones. I hope you have lots of lovely memories of your grandad as well as this very sad one.

  3. Oh I’m so sorry for your loss. We were the same age at the time it happened to you – I could only imagine getting that call. (hugs)

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