Today marks the 20th Anniversary of my Dads death. That 20 years seems to have flown by as it definitely doesn’t seem so long. I think I remember every detail of that day with such clarity that it will always feel as if it is out of time.
My Dad had bowel cancer. He was always fit and healthy. He cycled to work every day, didn’t smoke, and rarely touched alcohol. Then he started getting pains in his belly. The GP said he was constipated, and prescribed him laxatives. The a few weeks later he was rushed to hospital with blood coming from his back passage. They said they could find no reason for it, and after a week in hospital, he was sent home. He was in such pain we took him back to the hospital, where he was put in a side ward and basically ignored for a week. Eventually after much screaming and yelling we found someone who took his symptoms seriously. He was diagnosed with bowel cancer which was extremely advanced and had spread to his liver. His liver was so badly damaged that the consultant was amazed he had not been unwell for many years. He was told there was nothing they could do for him.
Almost instantly upon diagnosis he changed. It was as if his light had been turned down. I suppose being told you are going to die would do that to you. However, he was as cantankerous as ever and decided to plan everything! He interviewed undertakers so as to find one that would be good for my Mum. My parents renewed their wedding vows. He got everything in order, so as to make things easier when the time came.
He was diagnosed in the October, and pretty much kept himself busy until just gone Christmas. He then declined quite rapidly. He was on a magical cocktail of drugs which reduced his pain, and gave him some amazing hallucinations. We had both Marie Curie and MacMillan nurse visit so as to allow Mum to get some rest. It was discussed moving him to a hospice to allow him to have around the clock care towards the end. However this never happened as his time ran out.
My Dads body gave up at Midday on 17th March 1996. It was a Sunday, Mothering Sunday. It was a sad day, but also a day to remember he was free of the pain that had made him a different person in the last few months.
I miss my Dad every single day. The boys know him because we talk about him. They may not have had the pleasure of meeting him but he is still an important part of their life.
My Mum often accuses me of being like my Dad. It is jokingly said as a put down, but I take it as a compliment as he was a good hard working person who put his family above everything.
Miss you Dad, and love you loads.