Last year on his 84th birthday we took Daddy and Mum out for lunch. Zoë joined us. We went to the Carvery, as that was Dad’s favourite. He has unsophisticated tastes. He was quiet enough during the meal; he talked a bit to Bert and as always, ate a hearty meal. We took photos and they show him looking rather distant. Afterwards Bert said, “Seamus looks really fed up.” I asked him to explain and he said that he looked as if he couldn’t be bothered with hassle any more. Daddy was like that – he did like a quiet life but did these things because he thought it would please us. During the meal he asked me if I’d do him a favour. I said I would. He said he wanted me to take him to Leitrim to see Dede. Of course I agreed.
It wasn’t to be. He took a stroke within a couple of days and it hit him hard. He was in hospital for months but there was little could be done. He wouldn’t get better. By Christmas he was in a nursing home.
They’re good to him there and he seems to have settled. He never shows any signs of distress nor of wanting to be home. We visit him often and those of us who don’t live locally come back as often as possible. He cannot walk, hardly talks and cannot feed himself. It is exactly what we wouldn’t have wanted for him.
He was and is a great father, not perfect, but who is? He was always on our side and always ready to help in any way he could. When we were younger we thought he was hard on us. Now we can see that everything he did was done out of love. We have all had the privilege of making our peace and telling him how much we love and appreciate him.