My dad was my friend, my mentor, my confidante and my hero. He had the most wonderful sense of humour and always had a funny story to recite. He suffered from Vascular Dementia and he was so very brave. He knew what was wrong with him and tried to make life easier on his family by staying positive and cheerful as much as he could. The last year of his life was very difficult, not only for my Dad but for my Mother too.
My Dad’s confusion got worse and he could barely concentrate on anything. At one stage my Dad said to me, “Can we just rub all this out and start again, I can’t think anymore”. I replied, “Yes Dad, let’s do that, let”s start again.” My heart was breaking, I knew that my Dad meant he wanted to start the day all over again as he could barely remember anything that was happening, he hadn’t been talking very much that day and he was confused about almost everything going on around him. My Dad fell asleep on his chair, and when he woke up he was bright again and back to his cheery self.
My Dad asked if he could open his Christmas presents that night, I told him he could open the smaller ones but the larger ones had to be kept for Christmas Day, his reply was, “I wont be here then”. My reply was, “Dad, Christmas is only two weeks away of course you will be here”. My Dad just smiled at me and I smiled back. Later, my mum asked my Dad what he had meant and he told her to ask me because I knew. I think I did know, but there was no way I could acknowledge it, but, yes I knew exactly what my Dad meant.
Less than a week later on the 10th December 2009, my Dad passed away at the age of 81. The devastation felt in our family is indescribable.
Today, on Father’s Day I remember the man who made me laugh, who taught me how to eat Jelly Babies properly, who told stories and a man who gave me a love of nature. This man shared my life’s ups and downs and was always there for me: a wonderful friend who always gave the best advice. I remember the laughter, the fun and the loving man; I remember my Dad.