Today marks the first anniversary of my dad’s death, and I wanted to mark the occasion by filling you in on a few things. My Dad, John Geraghty, had always had a bad chest. He’d begun smoking when he was 14, nicking them out of his father’s pocket and at 56, finally decided he’d had enough and packed them in. He felt a whole lot better at the time but the damage was done. Along with cigarettes, When he was younger he’d moved hay which had been left in a old shed for years without a mask. Needless to say that wasn’t very good for his lungs.
About 2 years ago, he couldn’t catch his breath one day and collapsed on his bedroom floor. I ran and brought a basin of hot water and a towel, hoping the steam would melt whatever mucus was caught. I’m not sure how much it actually helped but he said it did and after an hour the ambulance brought him into hospital. Turned out he’d had a flu in the lungs my doctor had failed to diagnose and had been left untreated for far too long. These little trips into hospital for checkups became a regular feature, but after that he didn’t have much trouble.
He went in for one of these in June 2008. He wasn’t feeling very bad and drove in himself. They weren’t happy with his chest and decided to keep him in. I was talking to him over the phone while he was in there and he said he felt fantastic and would be home at the weekend. But, before that, we got a call saying he had suffered a setback, and no more information. That couldn’t have prepared us for what had happened. He had suffered a stroke and lost most of the movement in his left side. We were told that it was probably a clot in an archery and he’d be fine, but it was in the brain, and he was moved to intensive care. When he was moved out again to make room for car crash victims we knew what was coming. On the night of July 1st, I was staying in the waiting room of the hospital when a nurse came and informed me he was probably going to die soon. He did so at 11am that morning.
The cause of death was cigarettes. There are always other contributing factors but it was cigarettes that stood head and shoulders above the rest. If you have lost a parent or sibling, you know the pain involved and just how long it take to get things back to normal, but things will never be the same. The old saying goes “You don’t know what you have till it’s gone” and it’s true. I miss my dad something terrible. He was an intelligent, humorous man and always took an interest in whatever I was doing more than anyone else in my life. He fostered my love of Reading, Art, Nature and computers. I can’t watch a David Attenborough documentary without thinking of him. Now it pains me that I’ll never hear his voice again.
Cherish your loved ones, you might not realise how precious they are until it’s too late.