Meet my Dad, Andy. The man you are looking at was one of the kindest, gentlest, humblest souls you can meet.A man full of wit and infinite wisdom, Dad brightened the room just by being in it. He was a man of few words and limitless warmth.

Those who knew him will remember my Dad’s endlessly giving nature. Everything from chocolate bars and cakes to gizmos and gadgets in times of need. In my first year with SAD, my Dad gave me a lavender votive candle which he kept to sniff. It’s mostly white now and doesn’t smell anymore, but I still keep it safe as a loving reminder of him, of who he was, and all that he gave me.

When I was born, I was born with pneumonia and sepsis. I was also breach and back-to-front because there is nothing quite like a complicated pregnancy, is there? After my birth, I spent my first 10 Days in SCBU, from which I became his “BooBoos”.

Dad also taught me a lot about psychology, and it is because of him that I am now hugely passionate about it. I watched my Dad analyse people, understand people, support people and outwit people and I wanted to be just like him. The last gift my Dad gave me was a Harley Quinn t-shirt. To me, is it is a sign, an omen, of who I am and what I was meant to do. My life purpose, I am here to support people, analyse and understand and torment people, to be like Harley, his Harley.

Dad also taught me about fishing and woodwork and both remain passions for me to this day. For me, there is nothing like putting together a wardrobe to make my father proud, nothing like landing a fish like he would.

My Dad was ill throughout probably more than half of my life, and in February 2019 I was in his ward room when the doctor told us the news that my Dad- my wonderful, beatiful, sharp-witted, thoughtful Dad, had cancer.

Dad was defiant, he insisted that we would fight it and that he would do whatever it took to win, to have a life, with all of us. Unfortunately, within a few weeks, Multiple Myeloma  and a chest infection had become leukemia, complete renal failure and sepsis. At the age of just 60 and in the cold, clean and unfamiliar surrounds of the ICU, my father passed away.

The weeks after Dad’s passing have been hard. There is the reality that he is gone, coupled with the sense that he isn’t, that he can’t be. Death and grief are a strange thing, because even though it’s not business as usual, life goes on as ever before. Dad is still here with us, in mind and spirit rather than body. The little things we say and do remind him every day that he is still here, and so, on that note, I leave you with the short poem that I wrote in his memory:


You Tell Me

As I sit beside the pond,

And listen to the birds.

It’s almost as if you’re here with me,

And I can hear your words.


You tell me not to worry,

You tell me everything’s alright.

You tell me that you’re here with me,

Although you’re not in sight.


You tell me to keep going,

Or at least as best I could.

You tell me that you love me,

Just as any father would.


You tell me that you’re proud of me,

And not to worry about my mistakes,

You tell me that you’ll be here with me,

No matter what it takes.


You tell me to just look up and see,

You’re in the sunny skies.

And when I see my reflection, remember,

“You’ve got your father’s eyes.”

-Helen Smythe