My birthday is this Saturday and normally I LOVE my birthday and I am known for it! I always make a big deal about it and it’s a day I have always looked forward to every year.
But my birthdays are not the same anymore.
I want to tell you about my Dad. Every year around this time I think of him more than normal.
This is me, my dad, and my little sister:
On March 16th 2011, my Dad went into hospital. He handn’t been feeling very well, he had bad colds that wouldn’t shift and his back was getting painful. He was a mechanic and just thought that he hurt it sorting out a car. He was a really heavy smoker and in a few years he would have got to retire, and so he quit the life time habit so he would be in better shape for his retirement, and get to enjoy it. He was in really good shape and apart from smoking, he was in good health. He was only 62, so it didn’t make sense that he kept feeling worse.
The doctors kept checking him and he would stay in hospital for a few days at a time, and then he would be sent home again. But then a couple days at home and he would deteriorate and be back in hospital again. This kept happening and we weren’t getting any answers. I was at University, so 100 miles from home which made me more upset that I wasn’t there all the time.
As his condition got worse, he was checked for Cancer. We were so thankful when the tests came back negative.
We were also thankful when he got to be at home for his 63rd birthday in late April. Although by this point we knew what was going on. He had fluid on his lung. This caused him to find breathing really difficult and his chest always felt really tight. He was weak and was losing lots of weight.
I had my exams throughout May and so I travelled back and forth to see him. University were not supportive and told me to ‘concentrate on my exams, my family will always be there’. Little did they know.
I think it was about May 6th when we found out it was Cancer. Mesothelioma – Cancer caused by being exposed to Asbestos.
But we remained calm. Dad was all booked in for Chemotherapy, and he was going to have the bad part of his lung removed.
I got worried when I found out that he had asked the nurses if he would walk me down the aisle (albeit I wasn’t even engaged but hopefully one day I will make a Wife!) and they replied that my Graduation would be most likely if we were lucky.
Then it was my Birthday! My 21st!
Nearly two weeks after the ‘C’ news, on May 18th, I was going to forget my worries for one day and enjoy myself. My birthday was also my Dad’s mum’s birthday, ie my Nanny’s, so it was a very special day for me. And I was finally 21!!!
But that was the day my Dad passed away.
I woke up. I took my last exam. I went for a drink with my friends. Completely oblivious.
My brother drove to Plymouth to tell me the news and I broke down. I couldn’t pack fast enough and I just needed to get home. Apparently he had gotten up and went to the bathroom. He was assisted by a nurse but he came over all light headed and fainted. And that was it.
The following weeks I fed my grief by doing as much ‘Dad’ related stuff as possible. I sorted through his things and planned his funeral.
Since then life has never been the same.
Not a day goes by where I don’t think about my Dad…
One thing I have learnt from this, is to take more pictures! You will never have enough.
I got this tattoo for him. It says ‘Father’ in his handwriting:
It’s my birthday soon. My 23rd!! I’m starting to catch you up!!
And this Thursday will be my last exam and then I am done with Uni, after five long years the end is finally in sight!
Nanny hasn’t been very well recently, but as you know, I will always look after her and I am doing my very best. Just like I promised you.
I also promised to try and always make you proud. And I really hope I am doing this. In every decision I make I think of you and I thank you for keeping me on the right path. You also give me strength to move forward and get through the tough times. I know the pain you went through towards the end and you always kept trying to push through. With you, I feel like I can accomplish anything!
Although I really wish you were here! The amount of times I go to phone you is unbelievable! I still have your number in my phone and I still buy you birthday/Christmas cards! You are my Dad, and will always be in my life! I miss you like crazy so I watch our old home videos from when we were on holiday just so I can hear your voice. I wish we could have just one more conversation.
But I will not say goodbye to you!
You are here, I just can’t see you!
I will never say goodbye.. Just see you later!
I love you father, and I hope you are okay. I hope you are happy.
You were an amazing person. Kind. Caring. Supportive. Put me first. Funny. There.. you were always always there. And I know how much you loved me! I just hope you know I how much I loved you too.
If D is just half the Dad to Molly, as you were to me, she is a very very lucky girl and I couldn’t ask for more.
Thank you for making me the person I am today.
See you later,
LOVE YOU xxxxxxx