Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Ten Years Ago Today

1952

Today is the 10th anniversary of my father's death. 

Heading out to a wedding

Apart from their wedding photographs there appear to be very few pictures of my parents in their younger days. I wondered why that should be. Perhaps it was because they were in charge of the camera and any photographs taken would be of us. I'm sure I can remember Daddy not being keen on having his photograph taken and would only submit on special occasions such as weddings. There were lots of weddings. Between them our parents had more than fifty nieces and nephews.


Of course when we grew up we were always taking photographs of them. As you can see Daddy found it hard to take it seriously. He was probably saying something like, "What are you taking pictures for you fool idiot!" As time went on he learned to accept his children's desire to document his existence.

 I wanted to take this picture in the garden. By then Seamus wasn't that mobile but he was prepared to oblige. Times had changed.

This picture was taken on the day of my sister Deirdre's wedding. It was a year or so after Daddy's stroke. He wasn't able to walk my sister up the aisle so Matty did the honours. It is almost painful to look at these images, to see how failed he had become. But there is joy in it too because of the love that they still had for each other.

Eleven months later I went to visit Matty. We had planned a jaunt to Magherafelt and a visit to Daddy in his care home. She visited him five to six times a week. Every chance she got. We got in the car and I said,

Magherafelt first or Daddy first?

She said,

Magherafelt first.

We spent an hour in Magherafelt and then back to Randalstown to visit with Daddy.

I remember I used to fuss over him a lot when we visited. But on this occasion I just kissed him hello then sat back on a sofa while Mammy sat close to him. I spent some of my time in idle conversation with another resident. But mostly I just watched them. Daddy seemed more responsive than usual. She was talking quietly to him, he was listening intently. They were touching each other on the arms and hands. After about thirty minutes she said we would go. I went over, kissed him, said, "See you soon." She said her goodbyes too. In the car, on the way home I said,

That was a lovely visit.

She agreed.

I left her home and went home myself. Got changed into gardening clothes and then the phone rang. It was the care home.

I got to see Daddy sooner than I expected and for the last time.

There are a lot of people who believe in angels. I'm not one of them. Except for this day ten years ago. It must have been an angel who guided me to that sofa, six feet away from my mother and father as they spent a part of their very last day together loving each other.

5 comments:

Grannymar said...

Such sweet sadness in the tale of your dad's last day.

Leona Barron said...

A very moving recollection Mary. X

Nelly said...

Thank you Marie & Leona. Very much appreciated.

jo(e) said...

That's a lovely memory.

Brighid said...

A beautiful testament to your parents, thank you for that. It gives us hope that love conquers most.