Today, 29th April, is my late Dad’s birthday.
I keep thinking that only sixty years ago today, his mother, Molly (who died when my Dad was quite young) gave birth to my Dad. I expect he was a gorgeous baby who gave them a lot of joy. So April 29th used to be a day of joy and a date to celebrate his birth and his life.
He didn’t have an easy life, but he always had a smile for everyone. He was always kind and eager to help. He always had a great sense of humour and loved to tease us.
I love this photo of Dad with me as a baby, it reminds me how much Dad loved babies and children. He couldn’t wait to settle down and have children of his own. I remember Mum saying how much he loved us as babies when we were still wearing our sleep suits, I’m the same and have loved seeing my babies in their traditional sleep suits. So sweet. He always had a way with babies and children. I remember lot of times being in queues etc with my Dad and there would be a baby in front of us cooing and smiling to get his and my attention. We loved that.
When my little sister Ceri was born, he told me over the phone that I had a “bonny little sister”. I had to ask what bonny meant. He told me it meant very beautiful.
He would have loved to have met all his lovely grandchildren, and it hurts so much to know that he never will.
I am scared of carousels, but feel safe here with my Daddy.
The smell of cement always reminds me of him. He was a builder and plasterer. I remember him coming in from work and sitting on our dining room settee to talk to mum as she made tea. I would climb on his lap and “pick” the set cement pieces off his aran and work jumpers.
All the family. 🙂 A happy day. Uncle Gary is in the photograph and Aunty Janet took the photo.
Other random memories or things that remind me of Dad: piggy back rides, being spun upside down by him (I remember thinking I hope this never ends), playing cricket/rounders/bowles etc, drinking the froth of his beer, red wine, black BMW’s (I always thought I would buy one for him when I was older), family holidays, Tunes sweets), renting videos (Table for Five), family dancing in the kitchen, Saturday Supper nights (french bread, garlic and cheese baked potatoes), vans, rugby, shopping for mum (birthdays and Christmas), standing in a phonebox in the rain, in Manchester to talk to him on the phone, ironing his shirts, Dad pretending on the intercom to be the Maltese maid on holiday (don’t ask!), travelling all over UK on university visits with him and Uncle Stanley, shaving him when he was ill, telling him about 9/11 while he was in hospital, the way he told a joke, the way he walked through the utility door into the kitchen, the way he smiled, rolled his eyes, I can see him humming and singing without thinking, he never came to visit without a drill, hammer etc to fix or make something for me without ever needing to be asked.
We all have such happy memories of him.
Then it hurts so much as we will always miss him. Sometimes it doesn’t feel right going on without him, missing such a huge part of our family.
When I started seeing Dave, Dad made me promise that he could still come to my graduation (that I wouldn’t give his ticket to Dave!). I told him of course he would be there as it was due to the help and support from him and Mum that had got me through Uni. There would have been a ticket for him and for Dave (as well as my Mum and sisters) but he died the year before I graduated so couldn’t come anyway. He’s always said, it would be one of the proudest moments of his life to see me graduate, so there was not a dry eye in my family on that day.
My 21st Birthday party in 2001. I think this is the last photo I have with him.
I remember seeing him in the Chapel of Rest, he looked just the same, he could have been sleeping, until I touched him…
I can’t describe the smell in the Chapel of Rest that evening, but it was really distinctive, every now and again that that smell will linger in the air and the memories all hit me at once.
Rest in peace, Daddy. You know you are so loved and missed by us all.
I would love to be at your party now, raising my glass and saying “Happy 60th Birthday, Daddy!”