Day 148: The last few days have been a sucker for a multitude of reasons but all in all my mental health isn’t one of the reasons. England football team lost their first Cup final since winning the World Cup in 1966 and being a big footy fan, it was hard to watch my Country lose on penalties to Italy. What was worse to see was the behaviour of the English fans pre and post match – anti-social and violent scenes. The icing on the cake was the racist abuse that was sent to the three young Black footballers in the England side who missed penalties. Why are we still seeing this disgusting behaviour from humans in 2021? Especially after everything we have gone through as a Country in the last 18 months you’d think the kinder face of humanity would surface but all I seem to see on social media and in public spaces is aggression, bullying, racism, homophobia and xenophobic behaviour.
I logged into work yesterday morning to be told by my line manager that a colleague had passed away at the weekend. A fit 40-year old father to a 6-year old who was out cycling with a friend when he suffered a cardiac arrest and could not be saved. I remember him as a happy, friendly and approachable man who always left a good impression on those he met. It really knocked us all for six. It makes you appreciate life all that more when you hear things like this. I have a daughter the same age as his son and its heartbreaking to think how the little guy will be told and how he will process the loss of his Daddy. It also made me think of a family friend who passed away in his sleep despite only being in his early 40s at the time and it came as such a shock. Once again, unexpected and he left his wife and two young children behind. I’m fortunate to still have both my parents and my wife’s parents are still alive too so other than losing my grandparents and a few older family friends I haven’t experienced the sudden and tragic loss of somebody close to me.
It has made me think a little bit more about my own date with destiny. I’m a very organised person in general and like control. I have a fear of leaving my wife and children behind without having my affairs in order. The chances of me ‘dropping down dead’ aged 34 and being fit and well is low but it isn’t impossible as I’ve seen this last few days. Is it healthy for me to be thinking about all of this? Am I normal or am I in the minority?
I’m an Atheist. I don’t believe in a God. I’m very much in the Science camp and believe that everything can be explained back to science – we just don’t have all of the answers yet. I have no problem with those who have religious views and if religion can comfort them – great but it just isn’t for me. My wife and two daughters are baptised and would class themselves as Church of England Christians. I identify as an Atheist.
When I die I believe that is the end. No soul leaves the body. Your body is either burnt to ash or decomposes under ground. I don’t believe in spirits and I don’t believe in those who claim to be able to speak to the dead. I’m open minded and will always listen to what other people believe but until I see it for myself my view won’t change. My concern is not what happens after I die, it is being confident that what I leave behind is long lasting for my loved ones.
And that is why my sobriety and recovery from my mental illness is so important to me. I want my young daughters to grow up with happy memories of their Dad. Good, honest fun and love with no secrets. Since giving up booze I’m not lying to them. Masking things. I’m being me. Transparent.
I hope to be around for a long time yet and to watch my children grow up and go on their own journey through life but I need to also be prepared for the small % chance that I could go to bed tonight and not wake up. Morbid yes. Reality is it happens.
So I have life insurance. It costs me the equivalent each month of what about 3-4 pint of beer used to cost me. I know my family would have financial security. I have mortgage assurance. That costs me the same as one takeaway a month. The house would be paid off and they could remain in the family home with no worries about that. My employer pays out a death in service payment as part of my pension so again, security is further assured. I’m sure my girls would rather have me around but the money would be a help!
It isn’t all about money but it gives people less day to day worries. I have also decided that I want to be cremated and I’d also like my organs donated. If the body I no longer have any use for can save somebody else then what an amazing gift that would be to a stranger who could then live for another day. Month. Year. Decade. Beautiful thought isn’t it?!
I looked back in my journal and in June 2018 I wrote a few bits about what I’d like at my funeral…
- Humanist Ceremony. Talk about my life and loves. Music not Hymns
- A Sunderland AFC red and white stripe scarf on my casket. A nod to my sporting love since I was a kid
3. The following poem called ‘One at Rest’ sums me up…
Think of me as one at rest,
for me you should not weep
I have no pain no troubled thoughts
for I am just asleep
The living thinking me that was,
is now forever still
And life goes on without me now,
as time forever will.
If your heart is heavy now
because I’ve gone away
Dwell not long upon it friend
For none of us can stay
Those of you who liked me,
I sincerely thank you all
And those of you who loved me,
I thank you most of all.
And in my fleeting lifespan,
as time went rushing by
I found some time to hesitate,
to laugh, to love, to cry
Matters it now if time began
If time will ever cease?
I was here, I used it all,
and now I am at peace.
4. And the Music, oh the music. Tough one but I think I’d love people to hear… ‘Let it Be’ – The Beatles, ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ – Haley Reinhart, ‘Gravity’ by Embrace and ‘One Great Mystery’ – Lady A
Nods to the love for my wife, my football team, a message to friends and family and my fondness of Country Music. Perfect send off!
And I’d like this Blog shared with those who knew me. I have set The Happy Daddy up anonymously and have not actively shared it with family and friends but it is not something I am ashamed of and if it can help people beyond my time walking the Earth I would rest easy in my urn 🙂
And whilst I’m no longer a drinker I would encourage people to have a drink in my name and remember the good times. I’m sure I’ve given most people a reason to laugh or smile over the years. Its just the way I am.
It might be morbid to read but I actually feel pretty good sharing that!