Today marks what would have been my grandad Terrence Barton Kelly’s 94th birthday, He was born in 1921 and passed away in 2003 as a result of the peripheral neuropathy he’d had for years, a stroke and the colon cancer for which he’d gone with my gran to Wexham Park Hospital for. I find it hard to believe 12 years have passed. Since that time, I’ve finished and graduated from Reading University with a degree in human geography, fallen in love, got engaged and entered a civil partnership and also written six books and am planning the seventh. So much has happened I wish he could have been around to see, but I know he’s looking down on me and looking after my identical twin sister and our family cats Suki and Pippa from Heaven.
I don’t know what else to say about this great man who was an architect, family man and loved each and every one of the family members, never making me feel any different because of my CP, hydrocephalus or eyesight difficulties, He always came to visit me when I was hospitalised and made me laugh as well as being really interested in my life and encouraging me. He never judged me (although I can remember him having a few choice words to say about my addiction to Big Brother years back!), Needless to say, I don’t watch the TV show now. I can remember his stories about Ireland, the family over there, and the way he talked about Trinity College, Dublin where he studied. I can remember his interest and stories when I showed him the photos I’d taken on a field trip to Dublin when I was in my second year at Reading University. I can remember the soft Irish accent that always came out in his voice when he spoke, despite having lived years in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire. I can remember his love of Campbell’s soup, and of watching him eat it for lunch. His traditional dinners of meat and two veg, The way he always sat at the head of the table, as well as his dislike of spicy food. How welcoming he was when he met new people. I have so many memories of him giving me advice, praising me and telling me to enjoy shopping trips with Gran where I always spent too much.
Happy birthday to a man who’ll always be in my heart.
I love you Pa!