Thursday, 4 June 2009


I am writing this before the 4 June because I know that, on that day, I may not find the words.

On this day back in the mists of time I was born. I'm not sure how I felt about it at the time but I'm pretty pleased now because it's been an ok life and I'm at a stage in my life when so many things could not be better. I count my blessings every day: I have food, shelter and friends and that's just the important things. I have a lifestyle many would wish for. I have a life relatively free of illness and pain.

For those things I give thanks every day. But whom do I thank? At one time the answer would have been obvious.


On this day in 2006 at 10.30 in the morning our first son, Andrew (who preferred to be called Andy) died of cancer in the Royal Marsden Hospital; London's premier cancer hospital.

My phone rang around 0930. It was Andy's number. I greeted him with the usual happiness that a Dad greets a Son on a Birthday. But it wasn't Andy. It was his Mum, Carol. She was staying in the flat all the time by then and I was just going down week on/week off when Andy was in hospital. Andy had been taken into hospital late the previous night. Carol had just had a call from the hospital to suggest she went in. I booked a flight (thank goodness there were Sunday flights from Stornoway in 2006) and made arrangements to meet our other Son, Gaz, in Glasgow. We would both then fly to London. I rang the hospital to ask them to tell Andy we'd be down by mid afternoon. Ten minutes after the call Andy died.

This year I have felt his death more acutely than I did at the time. This year the 4th of June will be hard.

For just over a year before his death Andy kept a Blog. I didn't know about it until after he had died. I think I'm glad. I read parts of it not long after his death. I am just getting the courage to read it again. It makes harrowing reading. His cancer was more unpleasant than some but reading his words makes me aware of what so many people suffer. It makes me desperately sad.

I miss Andy. And I know I'm not alone in that.

Which brings me back to whom I should thank for the life I have and Andy doesn't. When Andy died I lost my faith in God. Faith is not something one can convince onesself of. You either have it or you don't. I'd had faith all my life. Now I do not.

So every morning when I wake I am grateful that I do wake. And every morning I am thankful that my Doctor at the time (who now lives in New Zealand!) ignored the rules and took my concerns seriously and that the Consultant (who still looks after me) did the same. Without them my life would probably have ended before 1997 became 1998.

As Andy always said 'It's a funny old world, Dad.'.


  1. I am so touched with this and appreciate that you've shared it today.

    Graham, as close as I could possibly be to you - I walk beside you today...know this. Know it.

  2. Graham,
    Such a bittersweet posting. I am so glad that you shared.