This photo is the last photo I have of Griz. It was taken 7 weeks before he died. That is my Nan on the left. Her name is Shirley. Isn’t she beautiful? I love this photograph.
Three days after Griz died I found myself down at the beach at sunset. With my iphone in my pocket and headphones on I listened to this song over and over. Listen to it. It is amazing. My cousin Holly had picked it out for Griz’s funeral. It would be played as all the guys in my family would carry my Granddad’s coffin into the chapel.
I had the whole beach to myself this night. What a rare gift this was. The conditions at the beach were perfect. And when I say perfect, I truly mean that. The sunset seemed to last forever. The sand was a smooth, clean canvas and the ocean was calm. I dream of beach experiences like this.
I started writing all of the childrens names on my list. I cried so much that I couldn’t see properly through the lens of my camera so I stopped and sat down. I felt my Granddad’s presence. I could hear him “Oi! What’s your name again?!” (He would always say that to me as a joke) “Why don’t you write my name? I’m dead too!” He said it with a chuckle. So I got up and wrote the name that he called himself – Charlie. As I wrote his name I could hear him “Terrific – Thanks Pet”
I decided to write all of the names that he went by. Charles, Charlie, Dad, Griz, Grizzy and Henry. With each of his names that I wrote I could hear his whistle above the music in my head phones and I felt him leave me. He made his way out to the sunset. I couldn’t see him, I just knew that is where he went. On the day that he died when the sun set behind the most magnificent navy blue storm clouds, a bright gold lining appeared on the edges of all the clouds. Massive golden ray’s of light poured out towards the heavens where the stars would soon appear. In one word it was epic. My whole family stood on the beach together in awe of the sunset. We all agreed that the gold lining on the clouds was definitely Griz’s touch as I had never seen anything like it before, and you know me, I have photographed hundreds of sunsets. Anyway as I was saying, after I completed writing all of his names I prayed and asked him if I should start writing names for people of any age. He didn’t answer me in words. He answered me by painting the brightest pink lining of the clouds out on the horizon.
So today on what would be his 88th birthday my family and I have opened The Seashore of Remembrance.
Visiting the beach each night since my Granddad has passed away has become an even more spiritual experience for me. Now when I step into the sand each afternoon, I am not only meeting my son down there but his Great Grandfather too. Every night at the beach I am reunited. And instead of blowing one kiss out to the sea when I leave, I now blow two.
Heaven is real, there is no death.
Happy Birthday Griz. I know my painting skills don’t even come close to matching yours, so I will just sit back and photograph your sunset paintings from the shore. I will try my best to capture the beauty you create and do it justice. I promise to make you proud.