He was a loving and generous Dad, and in a lot of ways I hope I am like him when I have kids. Don't get me wrong he had his areas for improvement! Though my teenage years and into my twenty's we had an up and down relationship - he was down his luck for a long time and drank too much which affected things between us. I could never understand why he didn't 'pull his socks up' and get his life back together to how it was when we were younger, but as much as he tried he just couldn't do it. But during his later years I mellowed and became more accepting I guess - as a man in 60's he wasn't going to give up the booze and fags so why try and stop him! With me in Leeds and Dad on the Wirral, we didn't see each other as much as I wish we had but our relationship was great; chatting about work, football, cricket, friends and family - I do miss him.
The period he was in hospital is a bit of a blur with Dave Bro and I speeding up and down the m62 depending on the updates from Mum and Bro Nick. A few things stick in my mind....speaking with Sister Sally who lives in France on the phone about what we thought was happening at home, chatting to Dave Bro on the trips to hospital, us all being around Dads bed when his condition worsening and him cracking gags about 'gin and tonics' to the nurses, the moment that Mum told us that Dad had passed away and then throwing my arms around Uncle John when he arrived at Arrow Park!
As far as funerals go, Dads was great!! Loads and loads of people came and Broad Eves held the wake. It was an upbeat occasion with more laughs than tears which Dad would of wanted. As well as friends being there for support, I was really pleased to have Jo there with me. It was early days in our relationship and she didn't have to come, but she was fantastic (and had been for the previous weeks) - so thanks my love!! Its a real shame that they never got to meet as they would of got on like a house on fire.....I am hoping that at our wedding I will be able to toast Dad without bursting into tears as I am a little sad that he isn't going to be there with us to celebrate but of course it will still be the best day ever.
Anyway, I have gone on too long already so if you are reading this with a drink in your hand please raise your glass to John Leslie Rees....Dad!! Here are a few photo's;
|Dad on the left and me on the right - I am told we look quite similar!|
|Little Joe and Dad|
|Not many men could pull of this look, but JL could!|
|Us at the pub after the wake|
|Some of my best buds also at the pub|