To my Grandad, on the first day of the World Cup…

It felt like forever away. It was November 2006 and the news was full of the buzz that New Zealand would host the Rugby World Cup in 2011. I could care less about watching the games themselves, but I did spend plenty of time yarning to Grandad about the games, the players, the refs, the venues… you name it, we were the experts.

The day it hit the news, our conversation was full of excitement and anticipation and I promised him we’d go to the final together. I had previously promised to take him and Grandma to Disneyland, I suspect because I wanted to go (I was about six), but this time it really seemed like something I’d have time to save for and we’d all enjoy.

Now, it feels like forever ago that we shared that excited call… Grandad was already sick at the time, but we were both stubbornly refusing to consider anything would beat him.

He’s the first person I lost who left a big hole in my life and even though it’s been over four years, there’s still a gap where he should be.

Tonight, it all starts, the world will be watching and so will I. With plenty of excitement and a touch of sadness – there’s no way I would wish him back for even a second more of ill health, but there will always be a part of me that would give anything, absolutely ANYTHING, to have a ticket to the final with Grandad.

E xx