Kind, caring, compassionate, lovable, do anything for anyone, funny, loving and warm hearted.
These are all words I've heard describing you over the years. Your warm nature touched many people. You knew so many people and they always stopped to say hello and have a chat, always with a smile and a laugh. We even went on holiday to North Devon, 8 hours drive from home and we'd not been there long and we bumped into someone you knew. How? It always amazed me. No matter where we went, we always bumped into someone you knew.
I remember you sitting in my baby brothers' playpen on the prom in front of our beach chalet in Mablethorpe. Yes, sitting IN it, with a big straw hat on and a baby's dummy in your mouth. Why? I've no idea, but funny? yes, hysterical.
I remember that same year (1976) the year of the heatwave and the year of the swarms of ladybirds. I remember you picking ladybirds off my ice-cream so I could eat it between licks. I've never seen so many ladybirds in my life!
I remember you growing your beard for a fancy dress party. It took 6 months to grow to the length you needed, but when you dressed up as Henry the VIII with pillows strapped to your stomach, you could have been him. I was in awe at your costume, all velvet and swishy about.
I remember camping in Devon. You made us an obstacle course and half the campsite joined in. snorkel and flippers on, stand in the bowl of water, run around the campsite, touch four bottoms.. not people bottoms as we'd thought LOL.. bottoms of chairs, bottoms of tables, bottoms of bottles.. we laughed so hard.
I remember sitting on your knee, always on your knee, but you never minded, even if you were in the middle of something.
I remember sitting in the garage with you while you peeled shallots for pickling. You always loved your pickled onions. I remember playing on the pinball machine that you bought for us whilst you peeled and peeled and peeled.
I remember that if there was ever an accident, or someone fell over, you were always first there. We did begin to wonder if you were a jinx because they always seemed to happen near us, but I think that you were just supposed to be there to do your nursing thing.
I remember you taking me to hospital on a Sunday in Nottingham when I fell off the swing and broke my arm when I was 6. You never once complained or told me I'd been stupid for showing off (unlike my mum). You made going to the hospital an adventure, we had a great time.
I remember you rarely told me off and if you did have to, you always sat me down and talked to me calmly. You never yelled at me, even if you were really angry. I can't remember you ever smacking or really punishing me. That was what mum did.
I remember you calling me princess, even on the day when I was 16 years old and still your baby girl that I told you I was pregnant. You cuddled me till I stopped crying while mum was running around with her world falling down around her. You told me it was ok, and we'd get through it.
I remember you being so proud the first time you saw Eve. I saw the same look in your eye for her that you had for me.
I remember seeing you starting to get sick. You tried to hide it but we had too close a bond for me to not know. I remember you struggling, it was my turn to be the helper, but I really didn't want you to know I was helping. You let me.
I remember seeing you 8 years later laying on the bed. You didn't know I was coming to visit. I liked to surprise you because I loved to see the look on your face when you saw me. Your eyes would light up and a huge smile come to your face, no matter what pain you were in. By this time you could barely walk as far as the bathroom, so they sent you a commode. I couldn't bare to think of you having to use it. I hated the thought of you losing your dignity. Such a powerful man having to have someone empty a commode for you.
I remember hubby meeting you for the first time, and I remember the conversation with him on the way home. Firstly he was shocked. Shocked at how much alike you and I are, both looks wise and personality. Everyone says I look like you. I have the same expressionate eyes. I've been told that looking into them makes you feel like you're drowinging in a beautiful pool. You get lost in them so easily.
I remember that he was also shocked at the atmosphere in the room when we were together. The obvious unspoken love we had for each other when we were together. The obvious connection. He'd never experienced that feeling and emotion before. He said he felt like no one else in the world mattered but you and I at that moment, and that he was honoured to have experienced that.
I remember the last time I saw you alive. Walking up the hospital ward, I could see you sitting in the chair, not smiling, just being there, even though there were people around you. You didn't know I was coming. I hadn't told you. We'd driven 3 hours to see you.
I remember sitting on your hospital bed and saying Hello Dad. I remember looking into your eyes and seeing the grey. Your eyes had never been grey, they were such a vibrant blue. I knew this would be the last time I saw you. They couldn't find out what was wrong. I remember your eyes turning blue again when you realised it was me. I remember your face lighting up and you smiling that beautiful smile that was my Dad. I remember I didn't want to leave. I remember telling you I love you and hugging you. You did the same back.
I remember you telling Mark... look after her for me.. promise me you'll look after her. Those words echo in my mind to this day. That wasn't the kind of thing you'd normally say. You were there to look after me. I knew you'd had enough.
I remember phoning you every day after that at the hospital. They wouldn't let me talk to you but promised to pass on the message that I'd phoned. No improvement they'd tell me each morning. Then on the Tuesday the nurse said "just a moment" and then I heard your voice. They'd let me speak to you. I remember telling you we were coming to see you on the Sunday. It was going to be Fathers' Day. All you could say is that you were so tired, really really tired. Your voice was so far away. I knew. I just knew. You'd had enough. You were done. The fight had gone.
I remember getting a phone call the next day at work. Why the hell didn't they phone me earlier. They knew I lived a 3 hour drive away. We left work straight away. Thankfully Mark was there and drove us. 15 minutes into the drive and my phone rang. We were too late. We weren't going to make it. You'd already gone.
I remember staring out over the fields into nothing. I can't remember anything else about that drive. I remember meeting my brothers outside the hospital. I had to see you one last time. One of my brothers waited outside. He couldn't do it.
I remember walking into the hospital ward. The curtains were drawn around your bed. I remember seeing you laying there, no oxygen tubes that you'd worn for the last 10 years. I remember you laying flat. You never lay flat on your back. I remember you being in some god awful stripy pyjamas. You never wore pyjamas, always a t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms. I remember how cold you were. I remember wanting to hug you so much. I'd never seen a dead person before. I remember not knowing what to do or how to feel. I remember looking at your face and seeing your moustache all neatly trimmed. You always kept it so tidy. I remembered the strangest things.
I remember walking away from you was the most painful thing I've ever had to do in my life. I remember it like it was yesterday. It's 6 years tomorrow since I last saw you. It still hurts just the same. People say time heals. No it doesn't! The pain is just as raw today as it was then.
I remember... I was loved very much, and I remember that I felt the same way about you.
Dad. I miss you