My Dad was such an interesting character. I remember as a kid, he had this incredibly soft side, where he would bounce me on his knee and sing me nursery rhymes (his own rude versions). He also showed me how important it is to work hard.
He was stubborn, almost to a fault, but was also incredibly loving and caring. He used to go to the off-licence and buy his six-pack of Budweiser every Friday and give me the six-pack rings, which he called ‘beer chains’. He used to watch me rip them apart and tell me how big and strong I was getting. It’s such a normal thing, but it’s stayed with me forever. When I look back on situations like that, it was his way of giving me confidence.
I always remember his desire to provide for us all. He worked tirelessly, sometimes juggling 2 or 3 different jobs at a time. He never had any friends but was incredibly social. He adored all his family, especially his twin brother Ken, despite Ken being a little taller (family joke).
He adored my Mum. He wouldn’t often say that out loud, as it wasn’t his style. But he would be there when it really mattered. He loved Christmas, especially when my brother and I were younger. I remember the year I realised Father Christmas wasn’t real when I opened my eyes and saw Dad sneaking out of my room after leaving presents. I couldn’t ever say to him that I’d caught him. He always wanted to make Christmas special.
He was diagnosed on 15 August 2021, with a large tumour in his oesophagus. Despite the shock and my Dad being in his late 70s, I refused to believe he could die. Nothing can prepare you for the process of watching a loved one become more ill fighting such a terrible disease.
Following numerous hospital visits, we received the terrible news that my Dad’s diagnosis was terminal, and due to his age, there was nothing they could do. The news hit me like a sledgehammer. I knew he was tough, and for the next 18 months, he fought the biggest battle of his life.
The effects of the tumour
Dad was adamant he would fight despite the hospital insisting he would be lucky to live 12 more months. He showed me and everyone he was stronger than any of us ever knew. For around six months, his weight remained stable, which was great to see, and Dad continued to fight and amaze the hospital with his attitude. His use of Supreme CBD also helped immensely during those first few months as he struggled with anxiety following his diagnosis, but the CBD enabled him to keep to a sleeping pattern and feel more relaxed during the day.
As the tumour grew, his hunger diminished, and his love of food lessened. Dad became weaker and lost a lot of weight, which was difficult for all of us to see. He went through cycles of catching urinary tract infections (UTIs), making him extremely weak. During these UTIs, my Dad exhibited dementia symptoms such as confusion and delirium, which was particularly upsetting. You can visit the Alzheimers Society for more information and advice on symptoms such as delirium from urinary tract infections.
Towards the end, he would often say ‘I can’t believe I’m dying’. He had a lot of expected ups and downs as the months went on. When I look back, I just wanted to take him away from those feelings, and I tried to keep his mind elsewhere, but it must have been so difficult for him as time went on.
During one particular infection, his strength and determination amazed me more than ever. It was 28th May 2022, my Dad and I were watching the Champions League final on TV, and he disappeared near halftime, but I could hear him opening draws, so I knew he was ok. Then he appeared, and had showered, got himself ready, and walked with the aid of a walking stick to see my Mum and their friends.
The bravery he showed that evening — will stay with me for the rest of my life. He was in so much pain, but he knew how important it was for him to fight. He showed during his 18-month fight what it really means to battle every day and the importance of fighting for yourself and all those around you.
Even during his toughest times, he still loved to see his granddaughter Lily and grandson Arthur play football. He was so proud of both of them, and I will forever tell them how much he loved them. These moments showed me how much he adored all his family.
I think about my Mum a lot and how my Dad’s passing is impacting her. They were married for over 40 years, and the void in her life now that he’s gone is immeasurable. She is undoubtedly the person who will need the most support. Her bravery during my Dad’s fight against Cancer has shown me what love really is. She was there till the end, leaving no doubt in his mind about how much my Mum loved him. The support of Tony and Sandra and the rest of their close friends definitely eased his worries about my Mum after his passing.
I am determined to keep my Dad’s memory alive and talk about him as much as possible. He had a wicked sense of humour, combined with his lack of a filter and huge heart, which made him a complex, loveable, intriguing individual who commanded any room. Every time I make a cup of tea — I can still hear him shouting: “leave that tea bag brewing a bit longer.”
His funeral was by far the most challenging day of my life. There were over 150 people there from different parts of his life. This just showed how fondly people remembered him. I am eternally grateful for all the kind words people have said about my Dad since his passing.
Despite my sadness and feelings of loss since my Dad’s death, I know that means I experienced love. I will be forever grateful for having a Dad who never tried to be perfect. He embraced imperfection and was unapologetically himself.
The void my Dad’s passing has left is unfillable. But I know he would not want us to suffer. I will forever do my utmost to make him proud of me. I love you, Dad.
The NHS offer advice and support to anyone affected by the loss of someone close to them.