To millions of people all around the world, today is the day that Princess Diana died, to me and my family it’s the day we lost the captain of our ship, my Granddad Jack, who was taken from us twelve years ago.
I’ve been thinking of him even more than usual recently as I’ve been having times when I feel like I’m struggling to get through the day.
As much as I can be the big, cocksure, mouth piece, there’s a vulnerable side to me a very rarely show.
In fact, readers of this blog probably know more about my struggles with mental health than some of my close friends – not their fault, I’m just not much of a talker when the conversation is about me and my troubles.
The pressure of making two new businesses a success has most certainly taken it’s toll on my mental health, with my habits getting more and more manic by the day, at times driving PK to the brink.
But, I’ve come through much worse in my life.
I recognise the signs quicker and I’m talking about it, which can only be a good thing.
Granddad Jack taught us all to crack on and keep moving forward – he was the only real male influence in my life.
Early married life
It wasn’t all plain sailing for my grandparents either.
There was a time when money was incredibly tight, especially with three children to provide for.
My mum, her two brothers and my grandparents all lived with my nanny Taylor (my great grandmother) for a time whilst they were struggling to make ends meet.
Granddad Jack was fiercely independent, and being cut from the same cloth I know it would have been the last thing he wanted, but he sucked it up, kept saving away and eventually moved into their own home.
He kept cracking on.
By the time Granddad Jack came to retire his hard work had paid off and he was financially secure.
Admittedly he went insane at first, almost taking Grandma with him, you see someone so used to working 12 hour shifts 6 days a week just wasn’t used to having so much time on his hands.
Eventually, a love for travel kicked in and they spent many weeks away travelling around the south of France, Portugal and Cyprus – their favourite places to visit.
Unfortunately it wouldn’t be long before my Grandma had her first stroke, followed by two others.
She lost most of the use in her left arm and leg, her speech was severely affected at first and she had bouts of major confusion.
It was the first time I’d ever seen him look worried.
I’ll never forget seeing him shed a tear sat at the side of her hospital bed, pretending to blow his nose in an attempt to disguise it from us.
She survived and Granddad Jack went back to his tried and trusted mantra, jumping in to become her carer and cracking on regardless.
Losing our leader
On 31st August 2005 we lost our leader to cancer.
It was unexpected to say the least, nobody could remember him ever being ill and it’s safe to say everyone assumed Grandma, with her numerous medical issues, would be the first to pass.
What happened next was no surprise to me at all.
My mum, Jackie, without any hesitation stepped in, moved into my grandparents house and assumed the role of Grandma’s carer.
Without a thought for herself she ran two houses, one in Manchester and my grandparents in Warrington.
At the time she still worked two jobs too, just like Granddad Jack before her, she kept cracking on regardless.
My time to keep cracking on like Granddad Jack
I didn’t have a very good father, he’s been AWOL for the last 22 years, however my mum and grandparents more than made up for his lack of presence – I’ve certainly never missed out.
I strive every day to keep being a chip off the old block, if I turn out to be half the man he was I’ll die a happy man.
I’ll keep cracking on regardless because that’s what he taught me!
RIP Jack Taylor xxx