|Me and my Dad!|
I mentioned in my last post, too, that he had suffered with ill-health for a number of years. His problems began when a routine annual medical for work revealed a problem with his heart, resulting in a quadruple heart bypass operation being performed on him. A few months later, when he was back at work and apparently making a good recovery, he was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a debilitating disease for which there is no cure and the treatment for which is high doses of steroids. This was 15 years ago. In the following years, my Dad's health deteriorated, mainly due to the drugs he had to take. He was diagnosed with diabetes, neurothapy, renal failure and a number of other ailments, but he still managed to keep going. He rarely complained. I knew he was having a particularly bad day if when I phoned to ask how he was, his answer came back, "Oh, fair to crap!".
So, my Dad wasn't in the best shape or the first flush of youth, but neither was he particularly old nor were any of his illnesses, taken on their own, life-threatening. So, it came as a huge shock when, less than 4 weeks in to my new life in Vietnam, I got a call from my Mum to tell me that Dad had suffered an abdominal aneurism and wasn't expected to survive. In fact, he died three hours after that initial call.
I didn't know how to react. My new employers were very supportive. I went into auto-pilot - booking a flight, packing a case and getting to the airport. Once on the long flight home, though, I went to pieces. I don't know what my fellow passengers thought of me sobbing quietly for the entire journey!
The next few days passed in a blur of activity. There was so much to organise, I barely had time to think. There was one thing I was determined to do, however, and that was to write and deliver the eulogy for my Dad. One night, a few days after his death, I couldn't sleep, so I got up, went and sat quietly in the lounge and wrote the words I wanted to say. I'm proud to relate that, after several read-throughs, I managed to get up in front of a packed church and give my tribute for my Dad. I reproduce it here as a permanent reminder of the day and of my Dad.