My dad passed away four weeks ago, a victim of Lung Cancer. He fought all he could and really did put up a fight, unfortunately it was incurable and it had heavily set in before it was diagnosed. He died peacefully at home, with my Mum and I at his side.
He lived for approximately a year after diagnosis and took every treatment offered. There were a few times when doctors thought he wouldn’t make it through the night but he defied them.
My dad really did make the most of his precious time, and my children have fond memories of their Grandad. I made sure to take lots of photos too. My daughter is almost two but I think she’s too young to even really know that’s he’s gone. My son who is nearly five has many memories and it’s lovely to sit and talk about them.
My Dad’s funeral was obviously emotional, I wanted my children to be there. My husband initially objected but I said that my Dad would want them there and that children as young as ours have no perception of death. So it’s not at all morbid or scary when they have no experience of it.
My son is very bright and when I told him Grandad had died he didn’t understand. I said that he’s gone and we won’t be able to see him anymore but we can see him in our memories at any time.
A day or two later we saw a dead mouse on the floor on the way to school. This mouse was still there the next day. My son had told me that the mouse was dead, and realised that the mouse had been there a few days. This caused him to ask me where Grandad’s body is. I explained that his body was taken away in an ambulance, he asked to a hospital and I said yes, sort of.
That same week on our way to school a hearse drove past with a coffin so I took the opportunity to explain that the car was a funeral car and the wooden box was a coffin and that there is a dead body inside and that it was on it’s way to a funeral.
On the day of the funeral when the car did pull up with my Dad my son got quite excited and said there’s Grandad! I then had to fit the car seats into the funeral car. My children were sat in the back with my Husband and my Mum, Brother and I were in the front. My son was saying that Grandad doesn’t have a seatbelt on and he might bump his head. We laughed and it lifted us out of the sadness.
During the service at the crematorium my Mum and I read our tributes to my Dad. My daughter was in my arms and I was stood next to my Mum. I was so proud of us that we held it together and didn’t break down. My Dad would have been especially proud of my Mum. Whilst prayers were being read my daughter started to get restless and started playing with her little pink soft toy cat. Meow meow she kept saying and this could be heard by the whole chapel. My Mum and I giggled, my Dad would have found this hilarious. I wouldn’t condone this behaviour at anyone else’s funeral but he was their Grandad, and my Dad would be so pleased with how the whole day went. My dad was cremated, after we placed our red roses onto his coffin it was lowered into the platform on which it was proudly displayed. As far as my son knows Grandad’s body has gone, he saw it disappear, and he has accepted that. Eventually I’m sure he will ask more questions and I will have to tell him what exactly happened to the body.
We all went back to my Mum and Dad’s house and celebrated his life with tea, cakes and lots of laughter. There were quite a few children there so they had great fun running around playing. They thought it as nothing more than a party for Ray.
So our final goodbye was said, and tears were shed, but my children and their innocent spirit bought a much needed lift to everybody and I know my Dad would have been so proud and happy with our send off.
This is the poem which I wrote and read during his funeral service.
I watched on sadly as he took his perfect final breath
His eyes opened to let us know he was going unafraid of death
The battle against cancer had been long and cruel and wicked
Not just for my dad but for everyone who loved him that had to witness
He left his body half the man as he was once remembered
Up until the end his strength and courage were not surrendered
My children and my devoted mum gave him strength he never knew existed
Bravely defying timescales that the doctors had predicted
My dad was strong, wise, skilled and his humour shone until the end
Always wanting to joke, though inside his lungs would never mend
My dad, my children’s grandad, my mums husband sadly gone
But in our hearts and memories, never forgotten, he lives on.