exciting, informative, snarky, and very likely fabricated tales of life as an american expat in london

a. thomas maddock, 1917 – 2010

by Jen at 5:52 pm on 27.04.2010 | 4 Comments
filed under: family and friends, photo

last wednesday i got the call – grandpa is dying.

thursday, literally just 3 minutes before the deadline to close the UK skies due to volcanic ash, my flight home miraculously took off. we went straight from the airport to the nursing home.

his appearance was shocking – he was crumpled in on himself, gaunt skin and bones. but when we walked into the room, his eyes lit up. “he hasn’t been that alert in ages,” the nurse would later tell me.

“grandpa, i came all the way from england just to see you, and tell you i love you”

“i love you too.” it was difficult to decipher the words, but the intensity behind them was clear.

i kissed him, held his hands, massaged his feet, made small talk. i told him i loved him, over and over again.

he died on saturday, peacefully, painlessly, amongst family.

his mother was a settler of the american west, in a genuine covered wagon with a sod house. he lived through the great depression, served in the phillipines in the second world war, watched a man land on the moon, celebrated the turn of the millenium. he had three children, 8 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, and a 53 year marriage.

he had a rich, long life, and died surrounded by loved ones. i’m not sure you could ask for anything else in this world… but we were the lucky ones, really.



3 people like this post.


  • 1

    Comment by Amity

    27.04.2010 @ 20:45 pm

    I’m glad you got to see him again before he died, that must have meant the world to him (and you). It sounds like he had a wonderful life. May he rest in peace.

  • 2

    Comment by andrea

    28.04.2010 @ 03:52 am

    i’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather, but there must be some solace in knowing he had a long and full life. i’m so glad you were able to make it back home to spend his last days with him.

  • 3

    Comment by Jen

    28.04.2010 @ 17:01 pm

    thank you both.

  • 4

    Comment by Inga

    7.05.2010 @ 17:21 pm

    Jen. What a beautiful tribute. I love most what you said to your grandfather when you entered the room (well, what I love most is that your plane took off inspite of hellish ash mayhem). It made me cry, actually. I was with my grandfather when he passed and it remains one of the most important moments of my life.
    Sending you much love.

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