That’s not my Dad. Skeleton thin and tubes in his skin.
My Dad is coal black hair, the ladies’ man in his day, Teddy Boy, Jack the lad.
That’s not my Dad. Sitting in the chair all night, the cancer digging barbs in his throat. Fighting the pain with drugs that dull, but never quite enough.
My Dad is the goal scorer, story teller, Elvis singer, dog walker.
That’s not my Dad, hooked to a machine, eyes closed, cheeks sunk, hands cold. Those beeps and numbers aren’t him.
My Dad is the proud grandfather, holding my son to his shoulder. The man who cried at my graduation. Punching the air when Nottingham Forest scored a goal.
“He’s not just your Dad,” said the nurse. “He’s our patient too. And we’re taking the decision to switch off the machines.”
We watch and wait as his breathing slows, stutters, stops.
That’s not my Dad, losing a battle he could not win. It was the cancer they switched off that day. Not my Dad.
Memories. He was silly and stubborn. Gloriously opinionated. Loyal and gentle. He never once said he loved me. He didn’t need to.
That’s my Dad.