My Dad, the silent type

If you’ve ever met me you’ll know I have an opinion (or two) on absolutely anything. When I met the TV presenter James Allen earlier this year, he suggested I do a podcast because “I’ve never come across someone where even I can’t get a word in edgeways”.

In some ways I take after my Dad but in others we’re polar opposites. I’m his eldest son and I love him fiercely but at times he can be a contrary bugger and as uncommunicative as a lump of stone. I spent an hour chatting to him on the phone the other day as I walked back from work. At 70 he’s just brought himself his first iPhone. I hope he doesn’t lose it on one of his 6 visits to the gym a week. That’d be sods law. We chatted about IT stuff, what they’d been up to and so on and when I reached my front door I said cheerio as I went to do some crowd control with the children.

When I got in and found my mum had called to say that they’d not be able to have the boy while I was away in Abu Dhabi this coming weekend because my Dad was having a colonoscopy after some inconclusive tests and he was more than a bit worried about the whole thing. I can understand a gentleman’s reluctance to mention that someone wants to shove a CCTV camera up his bottom but it did bring back memories from a long time ago. The unspoken words were it might be colon cancer.

When I was a student at university in the mid 1990’s, my Dad told me he was a long time sufferer of Non Hodgkin Lymphoma. I forget which type he has, I was rather upset when I was told, but it was a very aggressive form of cancer, which proved fatal in about 50% of the cases in the short term. He’d been suffering from it for years before he told me or my brother, he didn’t want to disrupt our school exams or study at the time and afterwards the time had never seemed right.

It’s funny really, my Dad has always seemed so grown up in my eyes. We had children when I was roughly the age he was when he had me, and I’ve never felt as competent or able to get on with stuff as he looked to me as I was growing up. I certainly don’t know how I’d have coped with a condition like that, or managed subsequently to spend enough time down the gym to win a gold in the veterans category at the national indoor rowing championships- the only person there who’d never been out in a rowing boat of any sort.

I suppose I’m feeling a little bit morbid at the moment, I’ve been to my third funeral of the year today and I can’t help shake the fear. It’ll be all right though, he’s my Dad and he’s indestructible, just like I still am in the eyes of the boy and Fifi.