I've held off writing this, as it's been a difficult, emotionally draining week-and-a-bit - and I'm only now ready to write something brief to provide a record on this blog.
My father, Kenneth Charles Blackford, suffered what was possibly a cardiac event in his sleep late on Tuesday afternoon, 23 January 2018. He was 97 (born September, 1920). Although he had health problems, there was nothing immediately life threatening, so the timing came as a shock to my sister (who had visited him that very day), myself (I'd spent some time with him a couple of days before), and other family members. On the day it happened, he had been feeling ill, but nothing out of the ordinary. He was apparently taking an afternoon nap from which he never awoke, so he never knew that he was dying. That was best for him, though it was unexpected for those he left behind. When contacted, we were initially almost in disbelief.
We held the funeral on Monday, 29 January, and I must say that speaking briefly about his life and character was very difficult for me. I kept choking up, even though I knew exactly what I wanted to say.
The last 10 years of Dad's life were difficult for him - first with the death of my mother, his beloved wife of many, many years, in 2008, and then with steep deterioration in his eyesight, especially through 2012 and thereafter, caused by glaucoma. By early 2013, he was too blind to cope by himself or even as a guest at someone's house, and he had to move into a nursing home. He faced all of this with a great deal of courage and stoicism, and far more good-humour than anyone could possibly expect from somebody in his situation. Over the past five years, in particular, I spent a lot of time with him, and there will be a hole in my life now that he's gone.
I especially want to thank all the people who've given me and my family their love and support over the last week or so. It's very much appreciated, and it's been crucial to my getting through a difficult time in reasonable mental shape.
My dad will be remembered with love for his gentle humour, endless curiosity, quiet bravery, fundamental decency, and all the other qualities that made him who he was.