#75b

Next Saturday is the fifth anniversary of my father's death. He died weighing less than 8 stone (48 kgs) in the Chelsea and Westminister hospital.

Unsurprisingly it was his heart that finished him off. It had played him up for years. As a child there were no ball games with dad, no hide n' seek nor piggy back runs down to the shops. He was this remote figure that no-one could go near for fear of exciting; always heaving and having 'turns'. A bronchial rattle, that was my father. But he wasn't old, he just seemed old. He was one of these people that are born with grey brylcreemed hair, glasses and a cardigan. He came out like that, he was always pushing fifty.

The day of his death I was on my daily bedside vigilance. Nothing to do with praying him back to health, I wanted to witness his death, make sure he was really gone. In fact I wanted to play a part in his passing, hold some blame, no matter how small or abstract. I would sit there for three hours each morning and again in the evening, staring at his heart monitor and willing it to flat-line. As fate was to have it, I finally missed the event. It happened while I was out buying a packet of Scampi Fries from the vending machine. Just as my change rattled down I saw two doctors and a nurse rush past and into the room my father was being kept in. Then I took notice of the high-pitched ringing of his monitor and knew that a dark cloud had passed, that somehow I was finally free. I stood in the door watching proceedings, the doctors matter-of-fact expression as they gave up and let his body flop into its final shape. A brown shit stain on the back of his nightgown was the last thing he showed me before leaving for another hell. Why my eyes welled with tears, I don't know??? Just one of those strange things I suppose.

As I mentioned last week, mother has invited John along to the forth-coming commemoration. I didn't think he'd be too enthused about going, but no, he says he'd love to come, that it should be a 'blinder'. So we will be in attendance. I think alongside the three of us, my aunt (mothers side) and two uncles (fathers side) will be present. Father's mother would come but she's in a retirement home dribbling corn mix down her tits. She doesn't even remember she had a son, though sometimes she refers to a huge pain she went down with in 1949, I think that was him.

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