The end of an era

I’m sorry it has been so silent around here lately.

Today at 11.30am local time, 1.30am UK time, my father died. He was 97 and had been in fragile health for several years.

He had an extraordinary life, seeing the world change from the 1920s of his childhood, through the 1930s and joining the army towards the end of WWII to serve in a tank regiment and land on Sword Beach on D-Day +1. After the war, he continued to serve for a short time in the Education Corps in what later became the state of Israel. Upon demobilising from the army, he went to seek his fortune in Nigeria, working for Shell. He met and married my mother, they moved to Angola, which was still a Portuguese colony at the time, before returning home to England in the late 1950s to settle down and raise his family.

He saw transport go from horse-drawn to supersonic to men living in space. He went from telephones in few homes to one in every pocket. He went from shelves full of encyclopaedias to the sum knowledge of mankind at our fingertips. There will never be another generation like his, spanning such incredible changes in technology, ideas and culture.

He never told me I couldn’t do something because I was female. He was by no means perfect, but he was a man of principle and integrity, of wicked humour and a deep love of music.

Rest in Peace, Pa. You’ve earned it.

94 thoughts on “The end of an era

  1. Katrina Middleton says:

    I’m so sorry. Sounds like a remarkable person.

  2. anne54 says:

    Oh Kate, I am so sorry. No matter how long someone has lived they still leave a big hole in our hearts. Your Dad sounds like a remarkable man, and he would have been so proud to have had you as his daughter. ~hugs~

    • katechiconi says:

      He had a large personality, and that will definitely be missed. His health had been bad for some time, so we’re glad he’s not enduring that any longer. Thank you so much for the hugs!

  3. magpiesue says:

    Some of us have lived through pretty remarkable times but those of your father’s generation still have us beat. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

  4. Moira says:

    from your description your dad was a very special man who will be truly missed. may your memories keep him close to you in the days to come.

  5. Thank you for including the wonderful photo of your father, so we can see his twinkling, character-full eyes, and easy smile. Kate, I’m so sorry for your loss. For you and your family please accept our sincere condolences. You often are, but will be in my thoughts especially during this sad time. R.I.P. ♡

  6. Marty K says:

    Kate, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for giving us all a glimpse as to your dad’s person and his character. May your memories bring comfort to you during this difficult time.

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you, Marty. If you had to point out one distinctive thing about Pa, it was the twinkle in his eye. I can still conjure up the smell of his tweed coat, and remember how much he loved glazed doughnuts… Well, you get the idea.

  7. Cas says:

    So, sorry to hear of your loss. What a life thiugh! Biggest hugs.

    • katechiconi says:

      Thanks, Cas. I hope you’re doing OK yourself. It hasn’t exactly been a shock, but there’s still the sense of being cut adrift. You know what I’m talking about, I know. Strange to find yourself a member of the senior generation in your family at my age. I’m not nearly old or wise enough!

  8. I’m so sorry my friend for your loss. My heart and prayers are with you and your family. Your Pa is dancing with the angels now 💗 May his soul rest in eternal Peace.
    Love and hugs to you my friend 💝

  9. so sorry for your loss, it sounds like he had a remarkable life and was a very special Dad. He will always be alive in your heart.

    • katechiconi says:

      Until you write these things down you don’t really appreciate what remarkable people they were, that generation. They saw changes far greater and challenges more testing than anything we’ve ever undergone, but without drama, fuss or a single meltdown on Twitter…

      • Susan Nixon says:

        Isn’t that the truth? An amazing generation who took what came and kept going.

      • katechiconi says:

        And did it without all the grumbling and whinging that’s so popular now. One of his catchphrases when asked how he was feeling was “mustn’t grumble”. The anthem of his generation… A good lesson for those of us left behind.

  10. Love and hugs Kate, what a man, what a character. Age is often irrelevant where emotions are concerned, and one’s world can go out of kilter for a while. All those happy memories to revisit and cherish. I hope you can feel as close to the rest of your family as you need to, and share all those wonderful tales.

    • katechiconi says:

      We’ve talked to each more in the last few days than in the previous year. Once it was clear the end was approaching, we started to talk almost constantly. Of course, the event itself is a huge blow, no matter how well prepared you think you are, but it was a good death, quiet, peaceful and almost imperceptible. He was ready.

  11. Your dad had a wonderful life, and he must have been so proud of his children. It’s hard to lose a parent at any age. Sending you my condolences and love xxx

  12. nanacathy2 says:

    So sorry to read of your loss. He was the same era as my Dad, and I know the gap they leave is huge. Please accept my sympathies, xx

    • katechiconi says:

      He really was larger than life in personality, although not a big man. You’re right that he leaves a gap. It’ll take a while to slowly fill with the marginalia of everyday life.

  13. glamjam1 says:

    Ah Kate I’m so sorry. Sending you and the family much love ❤️

  14. claire93 says:

    that’s a lovely tribute, Kate.
    Virtual hugs!

  15. KerryCan says:

    Hi Kate–I’m really so sorry to hear of your loss–your dad lived a capital-L Life, for sure! Was he a good storyteller, of all he’d seen?

  16. Very sorry to hear this Kate. What a remarkable man, and from what you say very adventurous and adaptable to all the changes. I know you will miss him dreadfully but glad you were with him at the end and saw that he was at peace. Huge hugs – will be thinking of you.

    • katechiconi says:

      I wasn’t actually with him; sadly I’m 18,000km away on the other side of the world. But we FaceTimed twice a week, and in our last session on Tuesday, I could see that he was releasing his grip on this life. The nursing home also warned us that he was approaching the end, being very experienced in the signs. I was glad for him, life was becoming a bit of a burden for him.

      • Sorry I misunderstood Kate. There is a point where people stop fighting and give in to death and experienced staff can sense it. I’m glad you recognised it too and had time to start accepting it.

  17. craftycreeky says:

    So sorry to hear of your loss, it sounds like he led a remarkable life, it’s so hard to lose a parent whatever age they are. Big hugs from Yorkshire x

  18. I’m so sorry *hugses*

  19. Jule says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending virtual hugs. 💕

  20. Terri says:

    My deepest condolences Kate. What a remarkable life he led. We need more people like your dad in this world.

  21. kymlucas says:

    What an amazing life. The world is a lesser place for the loss of people like him. Please accept my sympathy.

  22. kathyreeves says:

    My sincere condolences, Kate. You have so many wonderful memories of your dad, and he lived an Amazing life. I feel your loss keenly, my dad turns 93 on Sunday, and we are now in the fragile health stage. Even though far away it is clear to me that you had a great relationship, that will bring you much comfort, 97 years, what a legacy!

    • katechiconi says:

      He led a colourful life and was a brightly-lit personality, incisive, funny and intelligent. He had been less than his full self for about 5 years, so I suspect he was grateful to go…

  23. What a wonderful remembrance. And what a legacy he has in his remarkable daughter. May his spirit shine on.

    • katechiconi says:

      The memories of him are beginning to come in, and it’s clear that his children are not the only ones who will miss him. As for his spirit shining on; this morning’s rainy walk saw a rainbow gleaming against the grey. A message if ever there was one….

  24. tialys says:

    Kate – I read your email and your post at the same time as I was away from my computer yesterday. It sounds as if your pa had a life well lived and you will have some wonderful memories to talk with your siblings about for years to come. Thinking of you and sending hugs. xxx

  25. Dayphoto says:

    I am so happy you were able to have your Dad for so long. Although, his health was fragile his love for life wasn’t. And that is the hole in your heart will lie…is missing the huge vital presence of your Dad. My heart goes out to you, My Friend.

  26. My heart is sorry for your heart, Kate. Whoever else our parents were, they helped make us who we are…your dad gave us all a gift. Blessed be and thanks to Kate’s Pa.

  27. My sincere condolences, Kate.
    What an amazing life. Here’s to all those dads who raised their daughters to do whatever they wanted – what a gift they gave us.

    • katechiconi says:

      It was an extraordinary attitude for one of his generation, but I never heard him say or even imply that I couldn’t do anything my brother could. Such a breadth of experience of life, change, attitudes and ideas. We’ll never see his like again.

  28. Emmely says:

    Even when someone reaches a nice age and had a good life it’s still sad when it ends. Sorry for your loss.

  29. You have my heartfelt condolences, Kate. No way to make it easier. Being so far away hurts, I’m sure but distance doesn’t stop love. He had seen a lot of changes in the world. It’s nice to note how vast and expansive his life was. I know you have missed him and will continue doing so. Giant hugs.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m beginning to feel what a difference his absence makes in my world. Considering how far apart we were, it’s surprising, but he was a foundation stone of my life and my existence. I feel my universe wobbling slightly…

  30. Susan Nixon says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. He sounds like an amazing man with a lot of interests. My condolences on a terrible loss for you.

  31. He lives eternally within you, therefore with you. My sympathies to you and your family.

  32. So sorry to hear of your loss…no matter how ‘expected’. My dad was of the same generation (he passed at 93 in 2016) and they truly are/were the salt of the earth.

  33. Steph says:

    That’s a beautiful tribute.

    Distance and travel restrictions must be especially tough.

    But I wish you many happy memories, and peaceful dog walks and rainbows.

  34. Sharon says:

    May his memory be a blessing ~ sending a big hug and lots of love

  35. Edi says:

    What a full life!!! I am so very for your loss.

  36. cedar51 says:

    Kate, I’m way behind with reading blogs, so my deepest sympathy to you – but reading your replies – I can see that he had a great innings and that the care home, provided you and the family with much virtual time…

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you! The nursing home has been absolutely outstanding: careful, gentle, responsive, and affectionate towards its residents. We’re tremendously impressed with them.

  37. Chris S in Canada says:

    Oh Kate. I’m so sorry. I have no words for you. In fact it took a while for me to even read this post. In the early hours of dec 11 I lost my sister. She was coming up to 93. So from the same era. Yes they are special people. I am missing her already.
    Peace and light to you.

    • katechiconi says:

      It was a special vintage, those who were born in the early ’20s of last century. My heart goes out to you. They are both in the light; I hope they are entertaining each other in the waiting room before the Pearly Gates 🙂 Now we just have to wait for that heavy stone in our hearts to get a little lighter.

  38. jmcheney says:

    I am just seeing this tonight, Kate, but just wanted to say how sorry I am for your sadness & am so glad you had such a dear & special Dad. He had a remarkable & interesting life. My sympathy to you & your family.

  39. rutigt says:

    I´m so sorry for your lost. I know how hard it is to lose a parent. He will always be in your mind and you will always think of the great times you had together ❤

  40. Kate, I’m sorry for you loss. Your dad led a full life and I’m sure he had many stories to tell. Perfect or imperfect, it’s hard not to feel the loss of a parent, no matter what the age. My heart goes out to you. xo

  41. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    I am so sorry to hear Kate, my condolences. They always die too soon, no matter what.

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