She called him Grelly when she was young because she couldn’t say Grandad.
He used to pick her up every day from Kindy. Always the same routine when she got to her Mama’s house. She would sit next to Grelly and he would let her dunk her biscuits into his cup of tea. He didn’t mind if her biscuit fell in.
She entertained them by reciting the poems and songs she had learned. She loved it when they joined in and sang with her. Grelly would let her be the boss of the TV remote and watch her programmes with her. She didn’t mind that he didn’t know the words to Spongebob Squarepants because he made up for it by dancing with her when Bananas in Pyjamas came on. When she was sick he would phone her and tell her he and Mama were missing her.
When he became sick, she would rush in to see to see him. She would kiss them both and show them her drawings and tell him what she had done at Kindy.
He loved the affection and joy that she bought with her when she visited.
She wrote a story at school and described her grandparents as the glue that kept the family together.
After school, her mum picked her up and she could tell from her Mum’s face something was wrong.
When they got home Mum sat down and said she had some important news. She began by saying Grelly was very sick and an old man. Last night he got worse, and we had to call the ambulance to take him to the hospital. The doctors tried their best to save him, but Grelly was very sick and very old, and he died.
“Will we get to see him?” she asked.
“Yes, they are going to bring his body here tomorrow morning and he will stay with us until the funeral.”
She asked her mother if she could say something at the funeral.
She wore a black-checked, long-sleeved velvet dress identical to her favorite six-year-old cousin’s. When it came time for her to speak she climbed onto the chair and spoke into the microphone just like her Mum. She got out her paper and read.
I miss you very much. You are the best Grelly I have ever had. You were always kind and good to me. I remember one time when I was in trouble with my Mum for burping and not using my manners. When I looked at you, you smiled at me, and we laughed when Mum wasn’t looking. I will never forget you.
I love you very much, Grelly.
She stepped down from the chair and went and sat with her Mum.
At the cemetery after the service was over for the adults, they stood solemnly looking at the grave. The two six-year-olds took out the CD player and took up their positions on either side of the grave. They were glad they were dressed the same. They had choreographed a special dance to say goodbye to Grelly. The music started, it was their favourite song, ‘Smack That’. They danced their final farewell with love and joy for their Grelly.