DAD IS ONE IN A MILLION, LITERALLY
As published in Woman and Home Magazine before my darling dad passed away x
Twelve years ago dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given two months to live. At 70, the consultant felt the operation to remove part of his pancreas and gallbladder would be too much for him. But I know my dad and I persuaded his doctor to give it a go.
He was in theatre for hours longer than expected but I needn’t have worried… the reason for the delay was because, in his surgeon’s words, ….. “I called all my student doctors in to have a look at his liver because I have never seen such a healthy one in a seventy year old!” Dad being a highly competitive, former pro sportsman was delighted!
Twelve years on and dad was still going strong. The 0.5 survivor of pancreatic cancer, accredited to his lifelong fitness and positive mental attitude. Dad played professional soccer for West Brom and Chelsea reserves back in the day when players were paid a pittance. He gave it all up when I came along to become a teacher of maths and sports going on to own and run a school of his own.
All of his life he worked at his fitness and was a professional coach in tennis, judo, swimming and soccer not to mention athletics! He also had the temperament of a pro athlete, in fact his competitive attitude was, and still is, legendary! As kids he never let us win anything, saying that the day would come when we would beat him but until then…! I remember him kicking Ludo boards up in the air if he lost and recall mum furiously banging on the kitchen window when we were playing rounders shouting, “if you don’t calm down you’re coming inside.” She was talking to dad!
When I was about 12 we had a lovely summer holiday in Jersey. Dad was delighted to discover that the hotel held a sports day on the beach and entered us all for everything going! I ran the three legged race with dad, he was in the wheelbarrow race with mum and my poor brother was forced into an extremely rough potato sack for the sack race. Even worse, we won everything and after dinner at the hotel were called up to receive our trophies. I think it would be fair to say we were the most unpopular family on the trip but dad loved it!
Fast forward to my fiftieth birthday and nothing had changed! Mum and dad threw a lovely garden party for me. I arrived in a pretty blush pink dress and strappy heels but, within minutes of our arrival, dad had divided us into two teams running relays and obstacle races, stopwatch around his neck! I ended up in a pair of shorts and a T shirt for my milestone birthday pictures! The thing is we just go along with it as if this is normal behaviour! Don’t even get me started on the Boxing Day quiz which dad takes months to create then brings to the house in a briefcase with secret combination lock. That’s how much he trusts us!
Six weeks ago all was going well when dad had a major stroke rendering his left side useless leaving him unable to speak or eat. But, once again, dad amazed doctors by recovering in record time and is pretty much 100 per cent which is lucky for us because we can’t do without him.
He’s the Godfather of our family minus the crime element! Always there to support his children, grandchilden and great grandson. Selfless, reassuring and determined to win against the odds.