When I was told that my father was not well, and furthermore, what was ailing him was the dreaded cancer, I didn’t know how to react. I don’t believe anyone really knows.
He’d had some back trouble, common for older people, and the x-ray brought some unexpected spots of clarity to his doctor.
By the time he had his follow up appointment I was getting on a plane.
By the time I landed, he knew that there was nothing that could be done.
Each day thereafter became a treasured event. Every word, every touch was amplified and committed to memory.
I left for London ten days later. Our good bye was simple and heartfelt. I believe we said all we could say to each other. He was weak but I felt like I hadn’t been held so tightly since I was a boy.
He did his best to keep us positive in his last days, often joking and doing something silly. His sense of humour was his greatest and final gift.
Three weeks after he found out he was ill, he passed away. His funeral was truly uplifting, both African and European at the same time, just like him.
I wait for the time when sadness comes, but for now I want to celebrate his life and achievements.
Why do I post this here? Because no matter how old we are, we are all children of someone else. How many times do we long for our mother’s cooking? Or the company of our parents when things are tough?
And then how many more times do we slip back onto our routines and forget these people who care for us the most?
I appreciated my dad from the day I landed in the UK, 26 years ago. I loved him for being himself and for passing on his strength, personality and humour to his children. We will miss him, but every time we laugh, we’ll remember him. He will be with us.
Ken Wilson-Max Snr, 1938-2014
‘Judge me by my successes’