It's 3 years today since my Dad passed away. I wish i could say peacefully but i don't know because i wasn't there. He was unwell and had been in hospital a week when it happened. I hadn't visited because i had a brand new baby and the ward he was on was closed with diarrhea and vomiting. And anyway, we all thought he'd get better, that he'd bounce back like he'd always done. And then he took a sudden turn for the worse, and died at around 4am on 20th December 2009.
His official cause of death was pneumonia, but that was exacerbated by malnutrition and both those were secondary to the massive stroke he'd had in January 2008 and that was a direct result of his alcoholism so really, in the end, when it comes down it, it was the drink that killed him.
Growing up with an alcoholic Dad, i always knew of course that he wasn't going to live to a ripe old age but he was so resilient. He'd been abusing his body and getting away with it for so long, the idea he wouldn't be able to get away with it forever was quite an abstract one. So even though it was expected in some ways it was also a massive shock. He was 49.
When it happened, and for a long time after, i didn't really know what to think or how to feel about it. I cried after the viewing, and at the funeral, but Toby was 6 weeks old so i had to just keep carrying on as normal, and he was a fantastic distraction:
That's him the day after my Dad died, the first smile we managed to catch on camera. And all dressed up for his Grandad's funeral:
The only photo i took that day.
It was such a bittersweet time.
When my Dad died he had two Grandsons he'd never had chance to meet, Toby and my nephew Zach who was only 2 weeks old:
Since he's been gone he's gained two more grandsons, and earlier this year, a granddaughter.
To some extent i think i'm still not sure how i feel or how to find the words to say what i want to say.
But i suppose all it comes down to is that he was my Dad, and like many eldest daughters i was a Daddy's girl. And i miss him but i don't wish him back. It wouldn't be right or fair. He was so unhappy for such a long time. And i could write a thousand blog posts questioning why, hell i could write a BOOK on it and would still have barely scratched the surface but it would mostly be speculation anyway.
If i could talk to him today i think i'd just want to know if he was happy, and to wish him a merry christmas.
Everyone who knew him knows how much he loved christmas. He WAS christmas, even though every year, despite his best intentions he'd inevitably end up causing some kind of trouble for somebody. But he loved it, i mean, he really loved it. The tree went up in November and the christmas music was on a loop throughout December. I'm sure my love of this time of year stems at least in part from him. And because i was born 3 days before christmas it just made it all the more magical for him. He used to call me his "christmas angel".
Merry christmas Dad and Rest in Peace.