It goes without saying that this is a very hard post to write. Indeed, if this was committed to paper there would be tear stairs making passages illegible. On Monday 19th October just before 2 o’clock in the afternoon John Cathrall, husband, father, grandfather, friend, passed away at the Princess Alice Hospice in Esher. John had been diagnosed with pleomorphic cell sarcoma in April and was told it was terminal in September. Therefore, it was not unexpected however death always comes as a shock, and although it is the one thing that unites us, it seems that our culture tries to avoid the subject.
Somewhat ironically, considering that John was suffering from a terminal diagnosis, he had been in ‘good health’ recently and had been very active. So the swiftness of his passing, although a blessing, has been hard to accept. He was taken to Princess Alice Hospice in Esher on Saturday morning and never really regained consciousness. For the 48 hours he was in the Hospice he was never alone, the family took it in turns to stay with him, even staying overnight on the Saturday and Sunday. I would like to think that this was a great comfort to John in his finally hours, as although the staff at Princess Alice were fantastic and I can not praise them highly enough, family was very important to John and to be surrounded by his family must have filled him with pride and given him great warmth.
It goes without saying that John has left an enormous hole in our lives. He was an extremely practical man and although it is right and proper that we are grieving he would not want us moping around, there are things to be done! He worked hard all his life whether that was in his trade as a builder, or upkeep around his own home and garden or the numerous jobs that his children and grandchildren gave him.
Not only did he work hard he played hard too. Not in the sense of cigarettes and alcohol (unless you include ginger beer or the odd pint of shandy) but in entertaining and being the life and soul of the party. Whether that was being a monster scaring the grandchildren witless or sitting quietly reading a story with grandchildren on his knee, introducing a new generation to Tom and Jerry cartoons or offering tractor trailer rides around his garden.
He had a love of engineering and mechanics that transcended his hobbies, be that gliding, repairing tractors or his love of steam engines. He was always there for advice, whether you wanted it or not, but you would have been a fool to dismiss any DIY advice and I personally learned some new techniques from the man. As Amélie said, ‘Who am I going to get to repair my toys now?’
I only knew John for 11 years but I looked upon him as the father that I missed growing into adulthood. This short essay does not do justice to the man but there is one thing left for me to say:
Thank you, John for welcoming me into your family and allowing me to marry your daughter.
Goodnight Granddad, sleep well you have deserved it.
Please feel free to pop over to John’s Muchloved site where you can share your own thoughts and tributes, or simply light a candle in memory of Granddad.