“I thought Dad was going to live forever so it was very hard finding out that wasn’t the case.
I think in comparison to Mum dying, Dad dying is easier because we have had warning. We’ve had time to ask what he wants to happen. We’ll know that everything will be as he wants it to be. No one will be left thinking, ‘What if’ or ‘Is that what he would have wanted?’
When Mum died it was unexpected. She was 56. She was ill one day and dead the next with a cerebral haemorrhage. I do believe it’s easier for the family if they know what’s going to happen, though it’s easier for the person themselves to go very quickly.
If you don’t organise your finances properly things won’t go the way you want. Dad had made a will years before and spoken about it. Life is easier if the will is in place. You hear of families who are left broken and disjointed: it’s really hard if there are brothers and sisters who don’t agree.
Dad had asked me to be the executor and hadn’t told my brothers, so when we had the news about his cancer he told them and they were fine with it. As for me, I just want what dad wants. I thought it was a lovely idea that when he wanted to give some money to the grandchildren and great grandchildren. He could see how pleased they were.
As Dad was getting older we were thinking, ‘Let’s make the best of the time we have. Let’s make sure he gets to do what he wants to do.’ Knowing about the cancer has reinforced that feeling. I also think it means that there are no nasty surprises left for those who are left to deal with things.
Dad has been a really good dad, the best dad ever. And a really good granddad and great granddad. Everyone comes to visit him and they phone him and worry about him. Dad’s philosophy is, ‘Be nice to people, be nice to each other. If you can’t do any good, don’t do any harm.’ That’s how we’ll all carry on living our lives too.”