Long before it was trendy to push the pram and change nappies, my dad was doing all this. He bathed me, dressed me and never felt embarrassed or emasculated in being a hands on dad. He would get me dressed and put in my pigtails and I would even go in to work with him on my days off school.
He was a marine engineer, which mean that he built ships, big ships and he loved his job, right down to the sea trials. I loved going in and watching him work, although I tended to be bunkered down in his office, which sounds rather grand, but it was a portacabin really inside of a great big shed.
The best bits of dads job was when the ships were launched, we would go and watch the bottle of champagne being flung at the side and wave and cheer as they left the dry dock. I even got to go on board a couple and have lunch with the captain, it was very civilised.
When the shipyards closed my dad got a job as a maintenance engineer with British Steel and was so looking forward to his retirement. Me and MadDad had moved to Berkshire and Mum and Dad visited as often as they could and discussed moving closer when he retired.
He was 52 when the accident happened. He was crushed under a plate of steel. British Steel or Corus as they then were were ultimately found to be negligible and were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive, but it brought little comfort to us all.
My dads colleagues listed the half ton steel sheet off him and resuscitated him and the doctors in intensive care decided that the best option for recovery was to put my dad in to a drug induced paralysis and a coma. He had a tracheotomy put in so that he could be ventilated long term. His accident happened on the 17 October 2000.
It was awful visiting him in the hospital, but the nursing staff were excellent and taught us all how to take care of my dad and I would read to him everyday, sing songs and generally chat away to him. He seemed to be getting better, then all of a sudden, we were informed that he had sepsis and his organs were failing. They had treated him with the strongest antibiotics available to no avail.
We dad a decision to make as a family. We (my mum, brother, MadDad and Me) sat in the visitors room with the consultant and discussed the prospects and we knew then that we could not allow him to be in any further pain. My mum agreed and we made the decision to remove the ventilator which was helping him breath. I dont know what I expected, but mum and I were at his side as they turned down the oxygen level to normal and turned off the monitor volume. we each held a hand and he passed away within a minute.
It was such a hard thing to do. The man who I admired the most in the whole wide world slipped through my fingertips right before my very eyes. It was like being in a dream. No one wanted to leave the hospital that day. It was so hard to leave him behind. In an instant I became part of a club that no one talks about, that no one wants to be a member of. I became a daughter without a dad.
The church was overflowing at his funeral, full of people whose lives he had touched. I read out a poem me and my brother had wrote and then we went to say our final good byes at the crematorium.
I still miss him all these years later, but time is a great healer it is true. we named MaxiMad after him and MiniMad looks so like he did as a child. I know he would have adored his Grandchildren and been the perfect Grandpa and I constantly tell them about him and we have his picture up all over the house.
So yes, ten years ago I lost my father, but I am blessed to have a lifetime of wonderful memories to carry with me for always.
This post is for the Writing Workshop over at Sleep is for the Weak inspired by Josie’s by her sad, sad goodbye to her wonderful cat.