Monday, 5 September 2011

Grieving my loss:

My lovely dad died two years ago today. And each day, since he passed, I remember him with much fondness.

He would be 75 now. A fit and active man, I never knew my dad to be ill. So when he was diagnosed it came as a nasty shock, especially to my dad. He did all the right things, followed good medical advice and still his life ended far sooner than expected.

My dad was, ‘the best dad,’ a girl could have! I know how lucky I was to have known him. He was always there for me, and I miss this reassurance more than you can know.

We didn’t always see eye-to-eye: on occasions we could argue, and those heated debates gosh they were fascinating, and invaluable and probably went along way to strengthening our relationship.

He was a capable man, whether he wore his white collar to the office or tackled a hands on job at home wearing his blue collar. He came from a generation that seemed adept and adaptable to the changing world. He loved his apple Mac. It drove me mad and still does… as sadly I’m not going to be a Mac fan. He worked hard and he was lucky, he was never out of work, and worked for a single employer all of his adult life. He rode a motorbike and loved to play Rugby, until an injury stopped that game. He gardened and he wrote books and was the only man who could burn water!

When he read a book, he kept a notepad and pen at his side ready to record words that he did not yet know, he was a wordsmith and a grammarian. It used to drive me nuts, having my written work edited… but oh, how I wish I’d paid more attention.

We shared this love of words and if we both heard the newscaster read a mistake we would clock it and acknowledge it instantly… ‘No surely he didn’t mean that…’ then we would collapse into a private world of mirth and merriment as we spiralled almost out of control, discussing who knows what! It only ever made sense to us in that moment and how I wish I could hear my father laugh one more time…

He left behind a wife of more than fifty years of shared married experiences, four children and seven grandchildren. During the summer, at 72 he laid 100 paving slabs to create a new patio area at the bottom of the garden. His 73rd year was his last, spent in hospital and at finally at home for end stage palliative care.

The drive to the hospice two years ago today was the least hurried drive of my life. I already knew what to expect when I arrived but I wasn’t sure I was ready to face him in death.

When you have witnessed a hard fought struggle, a constant battle to live in the face of inordinate odds, you gain a new found respect for life.

My dad had to fight for every breath, literally. He had lung cancer. He never smoked.

One day I asked him why he battled: ‘To see the trees, the sky, the sun…’


  1. Such a moving story - thank you. We all spend so much time not noticing the trees, the sky, the sun...

  2. What a lovely memorial to your dad, Kay. And also a life-affirming celebration of family and love. I am glad for you all that he had so much to be proud of. And so sorry for your feelings of loss that must still be very tangible. Always so hard to write about.
    I sometimes feel we miss people more as time goes by and the reality sinks in properly.

  3. Your Dad sounds like the loveliest of men, and this was a lovely post in his honour. X

  4. Oh that's so beautiful. I lost my dad 5 years ago and about 3 hours before he died, he asked my mother and brother to help him look out of the window. He was on the 9th floor of a concrete tower block in a hospital but from his window he could see allotments, trees, the sky and what seemed like the whole of Cardiff. It was the last thing he did before slipping into a coma. I miss him all the time.
    You have written a great tribute to your father. Thank you for sharing it. Suzanne x