At 6.40 this morning the phone went. It was the home where my father stays. He’d had a fall and was going to hospital. At 11 we went to the hospital to relieve the carer, who was very distressed bless her. We were called into a small room where a doctor told us he was very ill and didn’t expect him to return to the home. We went to see him after that and he had a huge bruise on his right eye and was unconscious.
He was having terrible problems breathing and another doctor informed us he was going to do some basic tests. He ascertained he had pneumonia and heart problems that would have undoubtedly affected his kidneys. He was moved into another room then onto a ward. At 4.10 pm his breathing became sporadic, and after 5 attempts at breathing during which time there were gaps of several seconds, he passed away.
My sister and my wife were with me. We all looked at each other and suddenly realised our beloved father had died, right in front of our eyes. He just expired. He had one final shudder and that was it, he’d left our world for goodness knows where. There were tears, it was inevitable as soon as reality kicked in.
It was a defining moment. He was not in pain but his quality of life was shit, really shit. He was incontinent, blind, diabetic, prone to falling, weak, confused and had dementia. It was a blessing in disguise if there is such a thing.
I loved my Dad, he was gentle, kind, never ever swore, never spoke bad about anyone and never complained. Ever. When the nurses asked him if he was alright, he said yes. Always.
RIP Leonard James Marsh. Ex miner, steelworker, footballer, bear trainer, husband of Elaine and father of myself and Gill, father-in-law to Astrid, David and grandfather to Ellen Jane, Lucy Ann and Thomas. Loved by all and will be missed for his subtle if not predictable sense of humour. And for being himself. He was unique. He was orphaned at 11, lost his father at Narvik courtesy of the Germans, brother in the Ceylon sea courtesy of the Japanese. He wasn’t the perfect father, he rarely went out except to walk alone, which he enjoyed. He was never comfortable in company. He took me to football, speedway, stockcars, motorbike scrambling and all sorts of things when I was a kid. He was the only person who I ever allowed to call me Mike. He could call me anything he wanted. He was my Dad. I was Mike to him. That was good enough for me. He was the best Dad ever.
I’m crying inside but hard as nails outside. It hasn’t hit me in it’s entirety yet, that I will never see Dad again. The funeral will be a very quiet affair, he had few friends a small family but was loved by everyone. He adored my Mum, his wife Elaine.