It’s been so long now that i’ve worked my life around visits to you, planned and suddenly needed that I wonder how 2018 will be without that. Dates booked for trains, painstakingly written down by you in your yellow diary – Susi arrives 12.56, Susi here, Susi leaves 14.55. Each time after writing them down you’d say “oh good”. They meant so much to us both. Your joy at my arrival as I called out at the door and your grumpiness the day I was to leave “I hate it when you go”. So scattered across the diary were these entries punctuated with medical appointments for all the different parts of your body that weren’t working so well and monthly Masons meetings. Your diary was consulted so regularly. Big black sometimes somewhat illegible script across its pages that had got bigger and bigger as your sight failed. I remember the search for the perfect pen. There was success at last.
Daily phone calls, sometimes many in a day when you were anxious, had lost something, couldn’t remember how to do something or just wanted another chat. Dad would come up on my phone. Will miss not seeing that on my phone in 2018.
i took at least one photo of you each visit, just in case it would be our last. So I look back now over the years since mum died and see hundreds of images of happy times shared with you out and about in Plymouth, the trips away to Chichester, Southwold, Norfolk, Surrey, Padstow, the moors and in your home. Each one captures a feeling, a conversation, a memory and they bring me comfort now.
Its only 4 days since you died but time has such a strange quality right now. Sometimes it feels like minutes since I got the call from Si and we shed tears for you, our Dad. Many tears since then, at unexpected moments, prompted by a thought, an image, a conversation, the gentle sympathy of friends. Tears on waking and remembering that never again will I watch you write those dates of my visits in your diary and break into a huge smile on my arrival. We have raised a glass to you often since Friday and shared happy memories of times with you. How you enjoyed a glass of red wine and company.
The love of a husband, friends and some family will see me through the days, weeks and months to come.
I am glad you left gently while sleeping with no pain and not alone. It’s all I wanted for you. I wouldn’t have wanted you to live on becoming less and less of who you were. So i’m grateful for that. It was time for you. You were so tired and had battled on so long despite your weakened heart. It’s just hard to start to get used to the idea of you not being there to visit, to have boiled eggs for breakfast with, to get your calls to help you find a lost pair of glasses, to laugh with, to read Edward Lear with, to hear you say you love me, to watch you snooze in the sunshine in your chair overlooking the harbour, to kiss goodnight, to say “ do you remember “ with.
It will continue to be a good life for me full of love and happiness with the many people that mean so much to me . I know this. But it will be a life without you there in the middle of it. Right now it’s hard to know how that will be as the weeks and months and years follow. A life without you. I just don’t know how that will be. What I do know is that right now I feel a huge sense of loss. My Dad.