The Fear of Growing Old and Facing up to One’s Mortality

The story of my Grandad’s battles with stroke

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The Cow and Calf Rocks in Ilkley ‘painted’ on the iPad by the writer.

The day I found out my grandad had died, I was okay with it.

I wasn’t that sad when my grandad recently passed away, not in a heartless way you understand; I was more relieved for him. He had just celebrated his 90th birthday — a grand old age I doubt I’ll reach. He had his first stroke some years ago, which completely changed his life. Before, he was extremely active for a man 70+ years old. He’d often go walking in the countryside — he was part of a ramblers organisation. He was also a member of a dry stone walling group, a passion of his and indeed a great skill. He and the other chaps would trail the Yorkshire Dales, repairing damaged walls and building/rebuilding stiles and stepping points. I like to think about his handy work dotted around the Dales, lining fields and paths and helping ramblers on their way, standing the test of time.

The fear of death

He said to me a long time ago that he never wanted to grow so old that he would become incapacitated in any way. ‘No,’ he said, ‘before that happens I’ll throw myself off the Cow and Calf rocks.’ We laughed, although I’m quite sure he meant it.

Crazy passionate chef — my passion for food and cooking defines me. You’ll often see me with a cup of coffee or my favourite knife in hand.

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