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Bit of a tough day today, it being dad’s Birthday, with another tomorrow – mum’s Birthday.

I guess in some respects it’s a good thing that they’re both right next to each other, making it one very tough week to get through? That’s fine but it doesn’t help with the cloud that hangs over my head at this time of the year.

Sometimes the pain that goes hand in hand with missing them both is almost unbearable. I miss them both so much every single day, especially when times are hard like they are [in some respects] at the moment.

While trawling through the “What’s Hot” on Google+ yesterday someone had posted a Youtube video of Mike and the Mechanics’ “The Living Years”. I sat and listened to it in the office, fighting back the tears.

I knew I shouldn’t have listened to it but I couldn’t help myself. I’m not a fan or anything but the song really does hit it home what it means to lose someone so close to you. Here’s the video in case you’ve forgotten how it goes.

I wasn’t there that morning
When my father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say

That quote from the song lyrics will forever remind me of the day that dad died. I wasn’t at home that day, in fact I wasn’t even in the same county. I was off on business down in Cornwall when I got the phone call from Uncle Tony at the hotel I was staying at. I’ll never forget that hallway where the phone was; I can picture it now as if I was standing there being told the bad news.

I’ll be forever grateful for Nick [Stansell] for driving back with me that day and for everyone at GEC, my family and my friends for being so understanding at that most horrible of times.

For a very long time I couldn’t forgive myself for not being there for mum when dad died. I know there was nothing I could have done but not being a quick drive away haunted me for more years than it should have done. I know that’s stupid – go on, say it – but that’s how I felt; guilty.

It wasn’t until the breakdown of my marriage that I seriously looked at that time in my life and finally forgave myself for being away, for not being there for mum when she needed me. Finally removing that weight from my shoulders.

One thing I will always regret is not keeping in touch with dad as much as I should have done when they moved to Dartford. It was stupid. They were a phone call or a short drive away but there was always something else to do, something that meant another week went by without speaking to them both.

What was the worry? They were young, relatively speaking compared to their parents, so another day/week wouldn’t matter. How wrong and stupid I was. So much time went by and so many things went unsaid.

After dad died I promised myself that that would change, that I’d speak to mum every week, see her as often as I could, do as much as I could to help her. I guess in some respects it was me trying to make up for the past? I wasn’t about to make the same mistake again.

It was another 10 years before mum died. 10 years where she saw her grandchildren born, years where she enjoyed spoiling them and seeing them grow. I’m happy she saw that as I know how proud she was to be a grandma to my two little girls. It’s a shame that time was so short.

I know for a fact that if dad had still been around those two little girls would have been spoilt even more. He would have adored them and, like me, they would have adored him right back.

He was the salt of the earth kind of man, someone everyone got on with. He was the kind of person who would do what ever he could to help others and he had a knack of making people laugh and smile with his ever so slightly mad side. I miss that.

I miss them both madly. I regret the opportunities missed to talk to them, the times missed to see them. One thing I shouldn’t have taken for granted was the fact that they were there, that they’d always be there.

Your parents get older. Don’t take them for granted. Say what you need to say. Say it now because, as the song says, it’s too late when we die.