Everyone who ever met my Dad (aka The Woo) said he was great. And I'm not making that up - it's true. He was funny, kind, gentle, intelligent and *loved* to learn stuff. Whether it was the route you took to get to our house, where your grandparents were born, your opinions on world affairs, or your favourite type of ice cream - he wanted to know.
But when Macular Degeneration stole his sight it stole his ability to see the person he was talking to and make the personal connection he so loved...
He was like a sponge for new information. The Sunday newspapers would last him all week.The best Christmas present you could ever give him was a book token. For a start it would occupy him until Easter because he would spend hours and hours in book shops scouring the new titles, and then after devouring it he'd use it for conversation topics for months. His study was like a library and there were always piles of cuttings he was 'getting around' to reading on his desks.
But when Macular Degeneration stole his sight it stole his ability to enjoy the written word and the wonderful worlds it would take him into...
Dad relished new experiences and adventures. When he was in the Navy he went off to (literally) the furthest corners of the world and saw amazing sights. When he and Mum got married he thought nothing of driving (!) all the way to, and around, Scotland. One of his greatest loves was the theatre; whether behind the scenes, on the stage or in the audience, there was something about being in that environment which made him come alive.
But when Macular Degeneration stole his sight it stole his ability to feel confident in leaving the house, so even a trip to the supermarket was frightening.
Macular Degeneration didn't kill Dad (a dodgy ticker did that) but it stripped away so much of the person he was, that it stole his life away in cruel, brutal, increments. The more sight he lost, the smaller his life became.
It's a cruel disease which meant the once confident, sparky, bright, enthusiastic man I loved had his comfort zone reduced to that of a little old man, way before his time, who was unable to leave the house on his own or participate in any of the things which had made him feel alive.
That's why the amazing Paul and I are going to drag our under-trained arses around 13 feckin' miles of London's parks this time next week. Every step I take will be in memory of my Dad who was once unable to see little more than one step in front of his face.
Please PLEASE donate - not because running 13 miles is a particularly exceptional thing to do (although it will be for this terrified body!) but because no person should suffer the way my darling Dad did.
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