Wednesday, 15 June 2011


I've written about my Dad before, and I feel I've written about him enough. I've probably bored you all rigid talking about him in previous posts. So, today for the theme of Dads at the Gallery, I'm going to talk about another Dad - my husband's dad and Monkey and Missy Woo's granddad, my father-in-law.

At the end of last year, he was diagnosed with a bowel tumour. The prognosis was good but he had to have radiotherapy followed by an operation. The operation was either going to be keyhole surgery - for which a short hospital stay would be needed - or more invasive surgery, requiring a stay of one to two weeks. The irony for me was that he was having the operation on a day significant to me - the tenth anniversary of my Dad's death.

The operation didn't go well, requiring some quite major surgery. What we weren't prepared for was what happened afterwards. He moved wards several times as his condition dictated and sometimes to get the care he needed (sad but true), gradual improvement followed by relapses, and a lot of frustration. He managed to have a trip home one weekend to see how he got on, only for him to become really quite ill a few days later, extending his stay even further. The children weren't allowed into the wards he was on quite a lot, so they saw him a few times when they were allowed to visit but not half as often as they would do normally. Quite difficult for them as they love seeing Granddad (and Granny).

Finally, he left hospital, in mid-March. That one or two-week stay had become 3 months. Christmas didn't really happen. New Year was a blur. He went in during midwinter with snow on the ground and came out as spring approached.

Since leaving hospital, he's continued to improve - he's had regular visits to hospital for ongoing treatment, including one further overnight stay, but was soon home again. He's gradually become more mobile, although he's still walking with a stick. He's been back to see Blackpool play again (poor thing) and they even finally went on a Baltic cruise that they had previously had to cancel because of his illness.

The day after they came home this weekend, we held a family party. The weather was rank. The lady delivering hotpot managed to get lost coming from about two minutes away and someone had to be sent to help her find the house. It didn't matter. Everyone in the family made it to the party, except one grandson who had university exams. It was a lovely afternoon. One of those slightly chaotic but fun family parties.

There was a cake, which we put candles on and my brother-in-law made a speech. It took about 10 minutes, with various people cracking jokes and interrupting him; partly, I think, to relieve the tension. Because, by the end of the speech, everyone was in tears. After a difficult few months, it was truly a cause to celebrate that this Dad is still around for this year's Father's Day.

So my picture today was taken at that party. My father-in-law surrounded by his family.

Dad of five. Grandfather of fourteen. Great-grandfather of two. Happy Father's Day.

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