Monday, June 23, 2008 

A good send off

Well, I buried my father today. I wasn't looking forward to it, I had butterflies in my stomach right up to time the cortège left my mum's house. There was a hearse and 2 limos, so we did it in style. There hasn't been a sight like this in our close for a while, and I wore a new suit. It's years since I've worn one. It felt strange dressing 'smart'.

The simple Catholic service was lovely, Terry's favourite music was played during the proceedings, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis jr and Frank Sinatra. The priest read out a dedication I wrote to my father. It was very positive, more a celebration of Terry's life and very child friendly (it was my 11yr old niece Zoe's first funeral). I was so glad it went without a hitch.

Afterwards, we had a family 'wake' in a room above a local pub. It was an opportunity to meet family members I hadn't seen in years, but it's sad that funerals seem to be the only times this happens nowadays.

I think my dad would have been pleased with his send off. Now it's time for everyone to start living their lives again, me included. It's back to work tomorrow, and a touch of normality. I'll be keeping an eye on Mum, but she's alright and she knows the 'kids' are looking out for her.

Saturday, June 21, 2008 

Every dark cloud has a silver lining

It's a week since my father died, I'm busy getting myself ready for the funeral on Monday, if you can ever really be ready for such things.

It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but it has brought my family closer together which is one positive aspect. Another, and something my mother in particular draws comfort from is the number of cards expressing sympathy, the support she's had from neighbours, friends and people who pass by the house. Terry was liked by everyone and his passing has affected a lot of people.

As a family we've moved forward a lot in a week. We are going to be alright.

Saturday, June 14, 2008 

A tribute to my father

It's been far too long since my last post. I just didn't feel I had anything worth posting.

Since then however, events in my life have taken an unexpected turn for the worst. My father, Terence, has died. He was 77 years old, a fighter and an inspiration to me. He wasn't a well man since I was a bairn (I'm 47) but any amount of pain didn't stop him going out to work to look after our family. We had our rows, arguments etc, like all families, but I loved him to bits.

He doted over Zoe, my 11yr old niece and his Granddaughter by my sister Tracey. She gave my dad renewed purpose after he retired at 65. The photo's adorning my parent's living room are testament to that.

However, in recent years my father grew increasingly frail. He wasn't the strong, vigorous man I remembered as a child, in spite of his illnesses. He suffered 2 bouts of pneumonia within a year, each time I thought I'd lose him, but his dogged determination plus the NHS helped him pull through.

Over the last 2 or 3 years or so, my dad's short term memory started to go (early signs of dementia, Alzheimer's?). It caused problems, especially for Jean, my mum. But she stuck by him, and in a way she shielded the rest of the family from this, in spite of the fact it obviously upset her. Added to this, about 18 months ago two of my dad's siblings, a much loved brother and sister died. I think this affected my father in a profound way. I've only just discovered this after spending the last week with my mum.

Which brings me to the events of the last week or so. My brother-in-law, Martin rang me to say that my dad had been taken into hospital with breathing difficulties. I took some holiday time off to stay with my mum, help her out, mainly to be there for her. I couldn't have lived with myself if anything happened to my dad and she was alone.

My father seemed to be improving, he was in good spirits, his old self when I visited him in hospital. Just over 24hrs after being discharged from hospital my father relapsed. I rode with him in the ambulance, sirens blurring. He was in good spirits, chatting to the nurses, and seemed to be responding to the meds. But sadly, late in the evening his heart gave out.

The nurse who broke the news to my family was wonderful, as was the doctor who explained what happened. My father didn't suffer, unlike his own father, and I know he died with some degree of dignity.

I shall try my best to remember Terry, as a strong, sensitive, vigorous family man, ever supportive of others, a friend, father, granddad and uncle.

Terence Patrick McNally
6th December 1930 to 13th June 2008

About me

  • I'm JJ
  • From Hull, Yorkshire, United Kingdom
  • I still haven't got the hang of Thursdays, nevermind life in general. Perhaps I should get out more?
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* The title of this blog inspired by a piece of music written by fellow Yorkshireman, and favourite musician / composer / guitarist, Bill Nelson.