This post will be an emotionally difficult one for me, but nevertheless one which I feel compelled to put words to paper (or screen) to express my feelings at this present time. You see on the 24th February my very dear Dad passed away after a brave battle with cancer and whilst it is a blessing that he is now resting peacefully after what seems to have been such a long and hard fight, it was so terribly distressing to witness him deteriorate over the months to become a shadow of the man he once was. With the exceptions of his frustrations, I never heard him complain throughout all the treatments and tests he endured (and believe me there were a LOT), but continued to stay strong and optimistic. My Mum did a marvellous job of caring for him and with the help of the immediate family and community nursing, we were able to grant Dad his wishes by keeping him at home up until the few days before he died.
I won't go into any great details about my Dad's life, but he really was quite an influence and role model for me with regards to creativity. His skills as a Printer by trade required a keen eye and attention to detail and those were carried through to the extremely neat carpentry and woodworking items he produced. Some of my happiest memories of Dad were of him in his workshop covered with wood shavings, totally engrossed in his current project and whistling (always a good sign). Dad was very particular with keeping his car in good condition and cleaning it on a regular weekly basis and the lawn kept so green and healthy also with regular weekly mows that it probably should have been vacuumed instead. He took great pride in his clothes and was a snappy dresser with his cap and shoes his trademark but he always relayed the story that as the youngest of four boys going through the war, clothes were patched and handed down to the next boy and by the time he got the clothes, they were in such a tatty state. He vowed that when he was old enough to afford his own clothes, he would make sure they were of quality and that remained forever. Dad was an avid reader, loved crosswords and word puzzles, played golf and bowls and loved his computer and iPad. Dad was reliable, generous, loyal, friendly and well liked by everyone who knew him. He had a great sense of humour and great love for his family.and simply adored his grandchildren (my two children were his only grandchildren) and they simply adored him and he was always interested in their lives and offered them words of wisdom. But most of all, he was a true gentleman - the type of yesteryear where he would always take Mum's elbow when crossing the road or walk on the road side of the footpath.
Dad celebrated his 81st birthday in January but when he turned 80 I stitched a card for him to mark the occasion. He loved old cars and so I found this one in a Cross Stitch Cards magazine and he always kept in on display in his room so I guess it must have 'hit the mark'.
I am going to miss my Dad terribly, but he will be remembered with much love and respect and over the last year or so I was able to spend a lot of quality time with him and as such he has left me with many wonderful and happy memories. I am so proud of him for the way in which he coped with the struggle of his illness and I am just so proud of the person that he was. There was nothing I wouldn't have done for my Dad and his memory will constantly be in my heart and mind.
I am going to end this post (below) with some words of wisdom Dad gave me on more than one occasion when my children were growing up, pushing boundaries and testing my patience.
Love you always Dad.
'Let them win some little wars, as long as you win the battle'. - Ray aka Husband, Dad, Grandpa, friend.