Sunday, 11 January 2009

Anyone who knew my Dad will remember what a quiet, unasuming man he was. His eyebrows were the bushiest anyone had ever seen and he only had to raise them over his glasses and people would smile. It was more what he didn't say rather than what he did. Grunting his greetings to you but what a fantastic sense of humour! He was a true gentleman, a gentle giant and always there to lend a hand if ever he could (especially if it had anything to do with computing). I will be giving you more insight to his past in the forthcoming weeks.....................

At the beginning of September 2008 he had gone to the Dr with a pain in his side and after various tests they diagnosed an abdominal aortic aneurism (AAA). Surgery was scheduled for 13th November 2008 for a repair which would take 2-3 hours. He was to be in HDU or ICU for 4-5 days following his op and his hospital stay would be 2-3 weeks in total. He had a 90% chance of survival!!

After spending the first night and waiting for his surgery slot he was sent home until the following week as there wasn't any beds available for him in ICU or HDU!! (We all understood as an emergency had landed on their step, someone's aneurism had burst so they needed the bed urgently)

On 16th November all the family had gone down to Mum and Dads for Sunday lunch and we had a fantastic afternoon, Dad was on great form and was better than we'd seen him for months.

Our son Benjamin's 3rd birthday also fell on 20th (his re-scheduled operation date) but we decided to give him a little birthday party at Mum and Dads whilst we were waiting for news from the hospital. Pacing the floor, blowing out party candles, crying with worry and crying with joy we couldn't get to further ends of the scale really but we hung in there.

We finally got news around 5 o'clock and managed to get to see him in hospital at around 7:25. We were told he was very poorly, that surgery had in fact taken 7 1/2 hours as his aorta kept calcifying every time they tried to stitch it. After a brief period in ICU, his blood pressure dropped to dangerous levels. They were rushing him back to theatre as they suspected internal bleeding so they needed to open him up again to see what was going on. We saw him briefly as they prepped him for surgery, we kissed him and wished him all the luck in the world. (Go on Bampa you can do it! Benji used to shout at him)............. Dad died in surgery at 22:10 on the 20th November 2008.

Our lives were turned upside down and inside out. Our hero, our Father, our friend, our mentor was no longer with us. How were we to carry on???????

If a family could have been brought closer together then this certainly did it!!

My Mum became an even stronger rock, her strong beliefs had helped her through many things in her life and this philosophy was working here now. We talk, we cried, we thanked God for the life Dad had rather than the life that had been taken away. People expected her to curl up in a ball and give up but she hasn't. Her head is held high, she is proud to have been married to Dad and loved him for over 40 years. She is a type 1 diabetic and the doctors still can't believe how 'under control' her sugar levels are considering all she has been through. I'm not saying she's sailing through it - far from it she has good days and bad days, her arthritis plays up. One day she is fine and the next she is a mess but she is carrying on, she's living and breathing!!

My brother, I never realised that he has the same wicked sense of humour that my Dad had. He's kept us going; kept us smiling but he can cry too!! I never knew that! His wife has kept us smiling (even though her own Dad passed away earlier in the year so her pain was being relived!) and I found she makes a fantastic cup of tea and the kids will play happily with Benjamin with joy in their eyes.

My husband always has been my rock! He's certainly lived up to that now. It hit me a few days after my Dad died that he was also my Dad's best friend too! (long story!) There he was trying to hold me up but deep down he was falling apart for his own reasons. I remembered back to the day I told my Dad about being in a relationship with Ray, gritting my teeth as to his reaction. He threw his arms around me and said if there was ever soul mates that should be together it was us..... Thank you Dad xxx

Friends have gathered round us and they've visited, phoned, texted(!), sent cards and brought mince pies lol (thanks Tam xx). Whatever they've felt necessary to do they've been there and I cannot thank them enough. People who we've not heard from for a long time have come to see us or dropped us a line. It's been quite remarkable and again friendships have been rekindled and it's wonderful .....Thanks Dad xxx

There have been the ones that we've not heard from . . . not a call, not a text, not a letter, not an e-mail! I'm sure there has been a thought flying our way somewhere but to be quite honest, it's been quite hurtful and dissappointing. I suppose its times like this that one finds out who your friends really are!! Hey ho

It took us nearly 2 weeks to have his funeral with post mortems and inquests but we gave him a good send off. We were stunned to see well over 100 people at the service! As well as local, people came from far and wide - Ireland, Newcastle, Harrogate, Torquay and London. We recorded songs for his funeral (I will endevour to put them up here!) and did a memory board for people to see when they came back to the house. We couldn't call it a Wake so we called it an 'after show party!' and it was one hell of a party.

Good night God bless Dad............... I love you and always will xxxxxxx

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