Gratitude

What am I grateful for? Where do I start? I am on the last day of a trip I took to Thailand. I had planned to be here for 5-6 weeks.

I got the dreaded call, nobody wants to get.

Not quite the middle of the night.

My father had passed away ‘peacefully’ – thankfully.

I will always be grateful for that. And that he passed on the same date as my Mother.

Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s only about 18 months ago. But, for a few years we wondered what was going on with his health. He seemed to age all of a sudden very quickly & looking back he had started to struggle to do things that were once easy. He was a mathematician at heart and in his early days of marriage to my Mum, he trained as an electrician in the evenings. As my Mum tells it, he would physically work hard during the day. But, happily take himself off to night school. He was clever. Always had been. He could have gone to University but, chose to marry my mother instead. Mum was only 17 when she got married, he liked to joke that she left home with only a carrier bag in tow. He had a sharp sense of humour. He worked hard.

His persistence, dedication & focus to achieve the goals he set out for himself and his young family. In 1972, with 2 young children in tow Bobby & Jackie left the Valleys. It was pretty unheard of in those days for people to even go to London. So, to┬áhead to the Middle East was incredibly adventurous. I still remember waking up in Saudi Arabia in the middle of the night, hearing some strange noises I had not heard before. I thought it was crickets. Lizards probably. Bob worked for A.R.A.M.C.O – Arabian American Company of Oil. Was & still is a very prestigious company & in those days it was responsible for building a lot of the infrastructure in Saudi. I didn’t know that then of course. I was aged 2, my brother was 1. My days consisted of hard tasks like swimming every day in the glorious sunshine, playing naked outside in our enclosed camp with cockroaches & lizards. It was a lot of fun. My Dad worked away all week in the desert & came home on week-ends. We were part of the ex-pat community. When we travelled around, a lot of times people would rush up to us wanting to touch our hair. Most had never seen hair like that before. Long. & bleached white blonde in those days. On weekends the ex-pats would always get together. Parties galore – everyone taking turns to host. My brother & I loved it when it was at our house as we got to stay up a bit later. Everyone was in good spirits. Literally. Bob was quick to build a distillery to make ‘booze’ in the back of the house. We were given strict instructions not to allow any kids back there. My brother Russell would enjoy ‘standing guard’ telling the kids they weren’t allowed back there. Dad had a friend called Harry who introduced Bob to the world of Sidiki. It wasnt long befor Bob had mastered the tecnique & Harry was always curious about how he could make the alcohol a lot more quickly. The innovator in him had ingeniously thought of a way to speed up the process. He used a washing machine, the old Hoover type – he used this to heat up the the mixture first. It drove Harry mad as he couldn’t work out how Bob was speeding up the process. He would call by ‘on the off chance.’ The ‘monkey’ in Dad loved to play in that way.

I guess it’s ok to tell this story now, as Harry will be well gone himself by now.

Memories. Lovely memories. And immense gratitude for having had such a lovely Dad.

For You Dad

In the end,

there is no You,

In the end, there is no Us,

In the end, it is always the way it was meant to be,

In the end, it just is.

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Life is so incredibly precious. Enjoy!