20 6 mins 14 yrs

It’s a year ago today since my father died.


I’ve not been looking forward to this day – the first anniversary of his death. In truth, I have been rather dreading it and it has been playing on my mind for some weeks now.


It only seems like yesterday since I went in to visit him one morning and found him lying dead in his hospital bed. Still warm to the touch but still gone – his suffering over. The image is burnt into my memory. I remember going to tell the nurse on duty that he had died, she didn’t know. She apologised to me – but for what? However he did not die alone – I believe his Maker was there with him. He had faith. I try.


12 months have passed since that day and I miss him.


I know that is a selfish thing to say this because in truth he suffered greatly towards the end of his days as cancer devoured his body and it was a relief for him to go. He told me that he wanted away and his wish was granted to him by a merciful God. He knew he was dying and lord knows there was precious little dignity for him in his final months but he did his best to cope. I used to leave his hospital bed after the nightly visit with a brave face on that did not last much longer than the length of corridor I walked.


Though he has gone, there is a vast hole left behind for me.


I miss his good humour and his ability to pass life’s many travails off with a smile. I think that sometimes I may come across to you, dear reader, as rather more serious and intense than I actually am. In reality I believe that I am a younger version of what he was in the sense that I find life is easier if you can smile at it, rather than frown. Yes I know I do rail and protest at some things – hence this blog! – but you know folks, my bark is much worse than my bite. What always amused me about my Dad was that the bigger the hole he would find himself in – maybe some shares he bought expecting colossal dividends would nose-dive for example, he would think about it for a while and then find a way to look on the bright side of things! He didn’t take life that seriously, though he took his duties as husband and father very seriously. Duty mattered to him and it does to me.


I miss his modesty. He was such a kind and generous man and whilst he liked money he also liked to give it to those who needed it more than him. Throughout his 78 years on this earth he was the type of amiable soul who got on with people, he was a friend to many and at his funeral last year I was touched by the tributes paid to him by young, middle-aged and old. He was a man of principle who did what he said he would do. His word was his bond. I try to be the same.


I miss his enquiries into my own life. He was always interested in what his grandchildren were doing and delighted in their success. He would be so impressed to know his grandson can now drive and that his grand-daughter has dyed her hair purple! He also liked to know about my commercial success and would have been proud of my first book. He took the view that politicians were a rum lot, and he was right.


I miss my great weekly debates with him on politics and religion. We knew how to rile each other, as father and son can do so well. But we never fell out over these things and I would usually take extreme positions on issues in order to get a scathing response from him. He rarely let me down. He was a man who enjoyed debate with others and I remember him telling me about his public questioning of Lord Eames, head of the Anglican Church in Ireland. You don’t think my dissenting character came out of the blue, do you?


Above all I just miss the fact that he is just not there anymore. Sometimes I wonder where he has gone. I struggle to understand it all. I look up at the night sky some evenings and see all those stars twinkling across the universe and ask myself where is the man who was such a central part of my life?


It’s been very hard for me to write this these words but writing is what I probably do best. I think it helps release some of the pain stored up inside me. Later today I will go and visit his grave in a little country churchyard and have some time for reflection.


John Joseph Vance – born 26th February 1929 – died 30th April 2007.


Missed by your sorrowing son .

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20 thoughts on “MISSING YOU.

  1. David, lovely post.

    All blogging or speaking out on differing political viewpoints is emotional and keenly felt, that’s the great thing about it. You convey the issues passionately, good for you. From the way you describe him I would say you inherited all of his great qualities and you keep them very much alive in your character and in the way you write daily. Writing this as you say can hopefully be cathartic or at least a way to put your thoughts together on a man so important to you and who sounds wonderful. May he rest in peace and I hope you find some peace in life with regards to his passing also.

  2. Nice post DV

    For our political differences I can see we are quite similar people, family is everything.

    I lost my brother just over 2 years ago, he died suddenly aged only 40.

    He has been, and will be, on our minds constantly, loved and missed as I know your father is by you and yours.

    Best regards.

  3. David

    My father died suddenly a few years ago, also aged 78. I miss the many conversations we had, and regret the ones we didn’t have.

  4. David,
    My Dad is still a young man at 58 and has many years left we hope, but on that day if I can express myself half as eloquently as you have above, that will be some tribute to the man.
    I hope you are finding great solace in your memories of your Dad.

    May he Rest In Peace
    Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

  5. David,

    My sympathies. It’s hard to lose a loved one. But your fond memories will sustain you.

  6. A beautiful tribute, David.
    Did your dad have other sons? I’m sure anyway he was very proud of this son who, despite his crazy views, can fight his corner so well!

  7. Beautifully expressed sentiments David. I think you’re very lucky to have had such a wonderful father.

  8. Such a wonderful tribute must surely evoke memories for anyone who has read it. That we are fortunate to have such memories are themselves a tribute to those we have loved.

    Without wishing to seem maudlin, or to intrude in any personal way, may I take the liberty of proposing a toast, – for when you are having your favourite evening tipple, whether alone or in company, whether silently or out loud:-

    "To absent Friends and Loved Ones!"…

  9. David

    May I just add my own words of tribute to the clearly loving and warm relationship you had with your father. In this fractured worlf their are so many people who cannot claim the same. A genuiely loving life long relationship is a real blessing , and it;s a great tribute to your father that he instilled such devotion and admiration in you and amongst those in his life.

  10. Beautiful tribute, David. He was an outstanding man, and a model for all of us. God bless him and God bless you and your family.

  11. David,

    A very well written tribute. I can empathise with many of the details having lost my own father late last year. Judging by what you have written I guess it takes a long time to sink in fully and maybe it never does. My dad was an actor and just last weekend one of his radio plays that I hadn’t heard before came up unexpectedly on my ipod when I had it on shuffle. Even his character in this particular play died.

  12. David

    My younger brother passed away last week after a three year battle with skin cancer. We are all heart-broken but we too have the consolation of knowing his suffering is over and his faith and courage served him well.

    We got very close during his illness and the conversations we had were the most valuable of my life.

  13. Henry,

    I am very sorry to hear of the loss of your brother. My sincere commiserations.

    Frank,

    Sorry about the loss of your Dad. Sad.

    One thing about this thread is it reminds us all how human we all are behind these names and how we all have to cope with tragedy and triumph.

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