I decided to wait until today to write this blog post for a very special reason. Today is my dad’s birthday. But not just any birthday. If he was still alive today would be his 100th birthday. He would have had his telegram from the Queen’s this morning (or does she text now?) and we would have celebrated in true dad style, but having a nice cup of tea.
This is Roy. He was my dad. A painfully shy man that liked a flutter on the horses and nice roast dinner with his favourite veg, runner beans. There is so much I could tell you about this man but I’ll give you a few bullet point facts.
- He was the eldest of 3 and had 2 younger sisters. They all got on exceptionally well their whole lives. I never knew them to argue or fall out.
- My dad never drank or shouted and I only heard him swear a handful of times. He did however, smoke like a chimney.
- He was married before he met my mum and had a son and a daughter (neither of whom want to know me).
- He was in the RAF and took part in WW2, however he never ever set foot in a plane and never flew in his whole life.
- There was 25 years between him and my mum and when I was born he was 54. He was often mistaken as my grandfather.
- He was very affectionate and loved to brush my hair when I was little.
- My dad was a Christian and encouraged my faith but never forced me to go to church. He did take me to Sunday School but I never ever saw him inside a church.
- He was an absolute stickler for good English and spelling and instilled in me a love of language. On a Sunday afternoon when I was Primary School age he used to set me 10 spellings that I had to get right and those I didn’t I had to write 10 times each. This wasn’t a punishment more like practice of an art form. I never resented this and have passed this on to my boys too. I hope he would be proud.
- He was terrified of hospitals and throughout my life only had to go in once, in 1985 when he had heart failure. He was in a week and then on meds for the rest of his life but he was to all intents and purposes as fit as a butcher’s dog.
- I believe he knew he was going to die because in the week leading up to his death he wanted to spend a lot of time with my boys who were 3, 2 and 8 months at the time. He told me they were wonderful boys and would make me proud. He was right. I am sad he never got to meet Trevor or Sam. He would have loved them.
- My dad died very suddenly and unexpectedly on 10th May 1995 aged 78. He rang me up at midday saying he felt ill and I told him I would take him to the Doctor’s at 6pm. He had his lunch and fell asleep on the sofa, like he did every afternoon, and never woke up. Unbeknownst to him he had a massive stroke and a brain Hemorrhage. He never felt any pain and never had to suffer the indignity of being in hospital.
- His last words to me were “I love you Julie”.
It’s been 22 years since we lost him and I really do think about him most days but today is definitely dedicated to him. Happy 100th Birthday Daddy. I love you.