Grief is like toothache, many people have experienced it and they have an idea of what you’re feeling, but the pain is personal to you and they will never really know what it’s like. It comes and goes in waves, you think you’re over it but then something happens to set it off again. You have no idea how long it’s going to go on for, and there’s not much you can do to stop it.
That’s how I feel after the death of my dad last week. He went into hospital on 23rd January for a routine hip operation, and we all expected that this week we would be needing to find ways to keep him in his chair resting, knowing that he would want to be up and about at the earliest opportunity. Instead, the operation caused a blood clot which went on to his lung and lead to further complications. He passed away on the morning of 26th Jan.
Dad was a citizen of the world. He spent his life travelling, firstly in the Army, then through his work designing, selling and installing quarry and asphalt plant, and latterly as a motorcycling adventurer. We lost count of the number of countries he had visited in his lifetime, and his Facebook page includes contacts from across the globe. We’ve been overwhelmed by the many tributes and anecdotes from his friends, many of whom experienced his enthusiasm, inspiration and spirit of adventure as he took part in numerous organised runs across India and the Himalaya by Enfield motorcycle, forming links with an amazing group of people who obviously held him in high regard. My own experiences travelling with him to Germany are the subject of a previous blog.
Dad was a modest man but he was secretly proud to be showing the younger guys how it should be done, especially when many of those younger guys were well into retirement themselves. To be riding the highest roads in the world across rough terrain, rockfalls and heavy fords was a great achievement in itself, to be doing it in your mid-80s is pretty special.
I learned a lot from my father over his lifetime, and I’ll pick up on some of the key things in a future post. For now, it’s enough to record that he is no longer with us and that our family is in mourning. His funeral is on Tuesday 14th February in Loughborough, and there’s a lot to do before then to make sure we give him a great send-off.