Today my dad would have been 87 years old. Would have been if the horror of MND had not ravaged his body 39 years ago and take him from us. 39 years in which I have been unable to even think about eating smoked mackerel, one of his favourites but also one of the things that his failing system could not cope with.
This is one of the very random memories from his illness but I of course have many positive memories also. I had left home by the time he became ill, but I treasure the times that we shared the late night Old Grey Whistle Test on a Thursday? I remember him being enthralled by Bohemian Rhapsody and surprisingly eclectic in his musical tastes. Perhaps he was just appeasing a 16/17 year old ! I remember rolling cigarettes for him, buying his Golden Virginia tobacco and the cabin bed he made in my very small (but all mine) bedroom, to give me more floor space.
He was a very clever man, my dad, he could handle complicated maths problems quicker than a calculator; he wrote articles for Fuchsia Weekly (or something similar) as he produced new hybrid versions of his favourite plant.
He was also an original new man, cooking tea for us kids when mum worked evenings, I will never forget his Lancashire Hotpot, egg and chips or stews.
I miss him almost every day. I wonder often how he would have influenced my own children, had he known them, I was barely grown up myself when he died, and regret that he did not know me as I am now, with the wisdom of 60 years of experiences and lessons learned. I know that they would have loved him dearly, as did I.
So happy birthday dad. Thank you for being there for the time that you were, love you forever xx