Twenty-four years ago today, and almost to this very minute (5pm) I had the most terrible shock. I was working, and had a message to go and see my mum straight away. No details. I was luckily only about 4 miles away, and drove as quick as I could given that it was rush hour. I was thinking oh no, perhaps she's not feeling well, or maybe dad has hurt himself. It was worse, much, much worse. I turned the corner of my mum's road to see an ambulance parked outside. My stomach then in knots. I went inside and my mum was there, and a policeman, and ambulance men I think, it's all a bit of a blur. Mum's words were "It's your dad, love, he's gone" Disbelief, no, don't be silly, he can't be. But he was. I went to see him, still sitting on the sofa in the living room. Just like he was asleep, except that his jaw had dropped a bit. Otherwise completely peaceful.
My dad was 62 years old. Never ill, except that he had indigestion two days before, when I was over for my Sunday dinner with him and mum.
He worked about 50 yards along the road from the house, he managed a garage. He always came home for his dinner, always had, all their married life, he'd worked within walking distance of home and they had cooked meal, main meal of the day at what I call "lunchtime" He had an early start, long day, so he always had 2 hours for lunch. They had eaten, and mum went off Christmas shopping about 3 o'clock (Dad had 2 till 4 for his break) She got home around 4.30 and he was still sitting there on the sofa. My god, it was bad enough for me, but I can't imagine what it must have felt like for her to have found him like that.
He had a major heart attack. The later post mortem discovered he had heart disease,blocked valves and various other problems, probably caused from over 40 years of smoking. The only thing I can say is what a lovely way to go for him, it didn't look like he suffered at all, there would surely have been some sign of this in the way he was sitting if so. He just dozed off on the sofa for his daily nap, and died. Obviously, the indigestion on the Sunday was the first one. The second one got him. My poor old dad. I still miss him. I still often have dreams where he is in them, and I wake and just for a moment, forget....
He would be 86 now, I wonder what he would be like, whether he'd still go up the pub every night! Whether he'd still be smoking, playing darts and snooker, watching the horse racing on the telly, or hiding behind the newspaper tutting when me and mum watched Corrie, but secretly peering over the top, and watching it too, or nipping off down the betting office... His mate Eddie is still around, and doing some of those things. It's so unfair isn't it?
Ah well, life goes on, as they say. Sorry this is a downer, but I just wanted to remember him for once on this special day.