The Last Wave

The last time I saw him was on the Wednesday before he died. I was visiting their council bungalow in Leicester. I had bought him a pair of trousers for Father’s Day. He had lost so much weight that none of his clothes would fit. His waist size had reduced to 28inches. He smiled when I gave them to him. He had always found it difficult to accept presents. Any show of affection embarrassed him. We were not a family to show affection. I stayed for a couple of hours sitting with him and my Mam in their small living room. The television was on as usual and it was difficult to talk. It was always difficult to talk. I could tell he was not well but he had his brave face on. To show pain was a weakness and he would never admit to any weakness. He was very frail a shadow of the big man who had dominated our lives. He asked about my job. He had always been interested in my career. I knew he was proud of what I had achieved. He would tell everyone this except me. It went unsaid as so many things went unsaid. My Mam sat by him. She was quietly holding his hand as she always held his hand. I could tell that she was worried. He was frightened though he would never admit it. Eventually it was time to leave. I said goodbye to him and that I would see him soon. He looked up and said nothing. My Mam came to the door. I kissed her on the cheek and said that I would ring. She stood on the step as I walked to the car. I knew she would wait until I had turned the corner as she always did. As I drove away I turned to wave to her. She waved back a lonely figure on the doorstep. But she was not alone. The curtain at the widow next to her moved and I saw his face. He was waving to me. He had never come to the window before. I knew he was saying goodbye. As I drove away the tears rolled down my face. Somehow I knew that I would not see him again. The last memory I have of him is his face at the window waving to me as he had never done before.Image


12 thoughts on “The Last Wave

  1. My Dad is also of the same generation and currently very ill with what is a terminal condition. Each time I visit and leave Over the last few months I have had these same feelings so your reflections really hit a nerve. Thanks for sharing. Not easy.

  2. Tom,

    Such a moving story, my Dads very similar too, again it’s generational thing to have stiff upper lift and too be strong. Still have my Dad, even though it was touch and go 6 year ago.

  3. Thank you for the blogs Tom.
    It re-kindled memories of your Dad. His big presence, inner strength, love of a political conversation, and his pride in you, all of your achievements and your marriage to Vishva. Like most fathers, all he wanted was to see you happily married, doing well in your profession and to have children.
    You were always extra special to your Mum & Dad and you made them very, very happy, probably more than you will ever realise.
    Cherishing their memories is a beautiful thing and sharing it with others has immense value.
    Cheers to you both for your hospitality and a lovely week-end.
    I won’t leave it so long next time.

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