It’s been an unusual week for a variety of reasons, punctuated by the heart breaking news that Rich’s grandpa, Harold Byles (affectionately known as Bruce) had passed away.
Wanting nothing more than to be with our loved ones at this very sad time, it took a lot of strength to pull ourselves together and keep plodding on with our week. But that was what we did. It was after all, what Bruce would have wanted.
As a result, I haven’t felt much like blogging this week. I didn’t know Bruce nearly as well or for nearly as long as I would have liked, but he made a big impression and has left a big hole.
In a little ode to Bruce and his life, here are 6 things that Rich and I have learned from this brilliant man.
1. Be strong in adversity
Throughout Bruce’s last weeks and months, despite his ill health, he didn’t want us to worry too much, and when we called him and grandma Yvonne on Facetime, he was far more interested in talking about us and what we were up to. It helped that Yvonne is such a strong woman and he knew that whatever happened, she was behind him all the way.
Which leads me nicely to…
2. Love the one you’re with
On October 16th 2014, Bruce and Yvonne Byles celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
Their love story is testimony to the fact that true love lasts, supports, cherishes and protects. And they are great example to the rest of us that are about to tie the knot of how to have a long lasting, happy marriage, filled with good memories.
3. See the best in everything
Rich always talks of the fateful caravan incident of ’95, when on their way to a family holiday in France, their caravan came loose from their car and careered off into a field. After several days camped out next to a mechanics, it could have turned into an absolute disaster of a holiday, but Bruce made the situation as fun as possible and kept everyone’s spirits high (they particularly enjoyed his dogged attempts to speak French in a very strong, British accent!).
4. Family is everything
Bruce was always very family-orientated. He adored his grandchildren, and was delighted to have met his great grandchild, Amelie before he passed away.
I know that he got a lot of his happiness through seeing his family flourish, and I am sure that Lisa, James and Rich made him proud every day!
5. Party to the end
The first time I met Bruce was at Rich’s sister, Lisa’s wedding to Chris. My first impression of him was that he was a happy go lucky, fun and friendly guy with bundles of energy. As the evening came to a close, he was one of the last ones standing on the dance floor, rocking out to The Stone Roses with his walking stick above his head. This is the way that Rich and I will always remember him…
6. Live a life of love
I know that Bruce read and enjoyed my blogs. I hope that somehow from wherever he is now, he is reading this one and having a good chuckle to himself.