One of my closest friends died on friday. A man of such honesty, sincerity and integrity that he enriched the lives of everybody he met. I feel priveleged to have been a part of his life, and I shall not ever forget him. He was my father.

I feel no anger. I don’t seek to blame anybody. I just react by not reacting. The little switch in the back of mind that says “Dad is here” has not been turned off. Accepting that I’ll not see him again is like admitting that the sun will not rise tomorrow…

I get told “ooh, aren’t you handling it well?” No I’m bloody not, I’m not handling it at all. I’ve had things to do, like trying to arrange the funeral with my sister, and telephoning relatives who I’ve not heard from for years. I can see that pretty soon there will be a time when the enormity of it all will hit me like a tsunami, and I can tell you…I’m really not looking forward to it at all. I just thank my lucky stars that I’ve got a good support structure at my disposal.

Me and my dad have never been as close as we have been in recent months. After mum left, it took him some time to get his life back on track, and although I never got tell him how proud of him I was, it wasn’t necessary to say. I loved him, he loved me. Words weren’t needed, because when I looked into his eyes, I saw a little part of me inside and I felt the pride he had for me wouldn’t be diminished, no matter what had happened before, or would happen afterwards.

But it’s not all bad. I think he went as happy as perhaps he ever had been. My life is going pretty well, Laura is happy with her fiancĂ©, and he’d got some self-respect after a couple of years when things really weren’t going well for him. If ever a man was ready to go, this was it. As soon as I got to the hospital and saw him, I knew straight away that he probably wasnt going to come out. He looked terrible, even worse than after he had his heart bypass. He still managed to recognise me and Laura, though, and even came up a joke or two.

I’d always envisaged that my father would be around for the important moments of my life, like when (if!?) I got married, and when I had a child. Now that that is not going to happen, its a bit hard to figure out. But when someone dies, do they ever really die? For as long as there is someone left behind to remember them, they live on our thoughts and memories, and immortalilty is possible as long as your love for someone continues, even after they have departed from this world. I don’t really believe in an afterlife as such, but I know that a small part of Geoff Ballard will be with me at all times, watching. Whoever I become, whatever I achieve, Dad will be with me in some small part. And that makes me happy.

Here’s to you, Dad. Thank you.