I was always a bit of a daddy’s girl growing up – bar, perhaps, during my rebellious teenage years when I wanted to be an independent woman who knew better than anyone else and did the exact opposite of what she was told to do.
But, I have found that, the older I get, the more I understand where my parents were coming from and that, yes, they were right… *some* of the time (although I might not tell them that part!) And, actually, I now appreciate the time I do get to spend with them.
My dad is and always has been the first person I want to tell when something happens and the one who will support and encourage me no matter what. I have always admired him, not least for his work ethic and positive outlook on life – and never more than in the last few months.
This time last year we were over in Ireland, it was so poignant to spend such a special day discovering my dad’s family history and meeting long lost relatives.
Little did we know that this Father’s Day would be special for a very different reason. This Father’s Day we are celebrating that my dad has just had his last round of chemo which concludes six long months – and I say long months, if it has felt like a long time to me I can’t begin to imagine how long it has felt for him.
The statistics are scary; one in two of us will get cancer during our lives. That is why this deadly disease is one that touches each and every one of us in one way or another. But, despite that, we still never expect it to happen to us or anyone we love, until it inevitably does.
Not once have I heard him complain which certainly puts things into perspective, I’m pretty sure I have complained more about a hangover. I was also surprised when the day after his first treatment he went back to work .. and then continued to work throughout. Although I’m not sure why I was surprised because I can’t recall him ever having a day off sick.
Living two hours away from my family can be hard, but never more so than during this time. I felt helpless – not being there to help and support him through it. Of course I have been home when I can – but it isn’t the same. Then I came across this amazing website, Not Another Bunch Of Flowers – it was set up by Annika Burton who, having gone through breast cancer herself, knew that, as lovely as flowers are, there are gifts that are far more practical. Through this site I sent my dad some anti-nausea sweets – it wasn’t much but it enabled me to show that I was thinking of him and to feel like I had helped in some way. After ordering I received a lovely email to let me know they would be sent out and he received them with a beautiful hand written note.
When something like this happens it reminds you why it is so important not to take those closest to us for granted and to let them they know how much they are loved.
So I think am going to squeeze him just a little bit tighter today.