The above image is of me, a very young infant with my maternal Grandad. It must of been taken in the late 1960’s whist on holiday in the Isle of Wight. It is aboard the QE2. I believe it had docked there whilst we were on our annual family holiday. I do not remember the photograph being taken. Neither do I have much memory of the holiday. It was captured by my beautiful mum with an old analogue instamatic camera.
I have entitled the photograph “Real Love.” It is real, unconditional, wonderful love that really doesn’t come along very often in anyone persons life time. How lucky am I to have experienced this at such a young age. Perhaps it’s because of this real love I am the sensitive, emotional person I am today.
It looks as though my Grandad was giving me something rather nice to eat!!! He knew me so well!! My arms reaching out and my Grandad giving in out stretched arms his love shown in the treat he had kindly bought for me.
From what I can remember of this loving man and from what has been shared with me. He was a man who led a simple life. Content with his own world. He loved with 100% and more. My Grandma and him were happy in their small house, with a garden and an allotment down the road. Never did they go hungry as Grandad and his brothers grew and shot their own. My Grandad a plumber by trade and very well respected. My Grandma a housewife. They bore my beautiful mum. Money was not easy for them. It didn’t matter because the real love paid for so much. Do people understand that today? Sadly no in most lives.
So let me tell you more about this man, whom decades and decades later I still miss today. His heart bigger than most, his love larger still. He was one of alot of children born and bred in Middlewich, Cheshire. Like most folk of that era not particularly well educated. I don’t know how he met my Grandma, however I do know that a happier couple you could not meet. They asked for nothing, because real love was well embedded and deep. A couple who raised a wonderful woman. In the blink of an eye they could see their own world.
Real love they gave away in bundles. Mum wanted to do nursing as a career. When nurses had a vocation not a power career!! My Grandad gave up his only luxury, cigarettes to fund her to go to college. Real love. My goodness when she sent a telegram home three years saying “Thelma SRN” can you imagine their delight. Real Love.
Going back to the picture. I had a very strong bond with this man. I adored his every breath. I couldn’t understand when he died, why I couldn’t see him anymore. Real love. He was so very lonely when he lost my Grandma far too early. They had looked forward to retirement so much and it was taken away from them in a flash. Life can be very unfair. He use to visit us every Sunday and bring my brother and myself a kit kat. We use to pull his hair and ask him to take his teeth out. All of which he did. He endured the telling off from mum when he did this. Real Love. If you look closely at the photo you can see my chubby legs!! Not that much different today!!! They are covered in atopic eczema. It hurt in those days and certainly didn’t look nice. However Grandad still loved me. Real love.
In those days of childhood we just don’t know what’s in store for our future. Its probably a good thing. I knew and understood real love early as I was given it in a thousandfold. Is this a good thing? For when life starts to become real it can hurt. Perhaps if we don’t understand real love, we wouldn’t hurt. However we would miss out on so much if our feelings were only based on material things and ego trips. Many peoples lives are…
I cannot remember life when it didn’t hurt. I was outcasted at school because of my different looking skin. Bullied and rejected. I was ridiculed at college for the same thing. Years later battered, bruised and sexually assaulted by a man who claimed he really loved me. Which took me on a path of self destruction. However I always knew that I had the power to give real love like it is illustrated in the the snap shot. Why, because I was shown it in its rawest form as a child. I knew real love could conquer all.
Today, I still love this man. He alongside my parents showed me real love. Love from the heart, love that hurts because its real. Real love that makes your heart hurt, your pulse race. Real love that makes you kind generous and sensitive. Real love is not a feeling, its part of you. Real love shows in gestures, it shows in quality time. It’s not about duty or responsibility its about well, real love. It’s feeling others peoples happiness and pain. It’s sharing and caring.
I am grateful for hard times because I knew through that self destruction, that self loathing that I could give real love and one day someone would love me like my Grandad did back when I didn’t know what real love was. Today my life is full of real love, deep, deep love. It is both given and received. Today I am grateful for all those people who didn’t love me because today I appreciate real love like my Grandad was showing me on the QE2.
Do you have real love in your life? Does it exist today? Ahhh now pause to ponder…
REAL LOVE ❤️