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Pete at 24

Posted 17-11-2009 at 22:11 by West Ender

It's our Peter's birthday today, he's 24. He rang me, earlier, to say thanks for his card (money in it). He and Claire were on their way out for a Chinese with his mum and stepdad.

He's turned out OK, our Pete. He's a clever lad, got a bursary to go to Manchester Grammar School, went to Salford Uni to do Graphic Design. He's not working in IT, though he's looking for something in his line, he's on the cooked meat counter at Sainsburys. All that money and effort (his mum brought him up on her own) and he serves boiled ham! - but, as he says, it helps to pay the bills. Anyway, he's intelligent and good natured and baby faced, he's very tall and thin and he's looking for work in his field.

Twenty four years ago I had had to rush up to Queen's Park Hospital, in Blackburn, because my dad, who was in there being treated for lung cancer, had a stroke. I had taken my daughter, Jo, to Warrington Hospital as she was in labour. Her fiancé wasn't around, he had already all but left her, and I wanted to stay with her for the birth but she said No. Colin and I rushed up the M6 to see Dad, the last time I saw him conscious. His left side was paralysed and he couldn't swallow.

Some stupid staff member had left a cup of coffee on his bed-table, just out of reach but close enough to remind him how thirsty he was. I tried to help him to sip it but it almost drowned him. I stormed into the nurses' room and told them my father was parched and distressed and it was wrong. Only then did they find some moisture sticks that could wet inside his mouth.

I told Dad Jo's baby was going to be born that day and we knew it was a boy. Dad loved children, especially small ones, and I told him the name was to be Peter Anthony. We had worked out a hand signal, me and Dad, as he couldn't speak - lift your hand for Yes, make a fist for No. The hand went up for Peter's name.

At about noon I kissed my dad goodbye and we belted back down the motorway. We went straight to the hospital and into the maternity ward. Peter had been born at about 12 o clock weighing 9lbs. 7oz. and, as Jo was exhausted, he was in the nursery with the premature babies. We went for our first look at our grandson, putting on masks and gowns before going in. He was being given a bottle, when we went in, a great big boy with tight blond curls on his head, such a contrast to the tiny babies all around him. Jo was so proud of him and we were proud of him - and her - it was a very emotional time.

This was on the Sunday. The next time I saw my dad was Wednesday. Colin and I went that evening and Dad was in a deep coma. I sat beside him and held his hand, stroked his forehead, talked to him. We stayed until nearly midnight but, in the end, we had to leave. I kissed him goodbye again, this time I knew it was really goodbye. He died 6 hours later.

Peter and his Grampa were inseparable. Peter came to stay the weekend with us from when he was just months old and many a Sunday afternoon saw the pair of them disappear only to be advised by little Pete, on their return, that they had been to "B an Coo", Grampa's favourite store, B & Q. They had haircuts together, they met Grampa's friend John for pub lunches together, they went to steam fairs and rallies and exhibitions, always together.

Peter was 10 when Colin died and it hit him very hard. Always a very quiet child he didn't show much emotion but he found a photo of his grampa, a snapshot taken of him with a screwdriver in his hand fixing something, and put it in a frame next to his bed. He didn't mention this to his mother. He has never talked much about Colin but, when he does, the affection shows in his face and voice.

So, now he's 24, all grown up with a girlfriend and a kitten and a home of his own. Time has gone so quickly since that little blond boy made his entrance into this world.
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    BERNADETTE's Avatar
    A lovely blog Cath
    Posted 18-11-2009 at 13:05 by BERNADETTE BERNADETTE is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Margaret Pilkington's Avatar
    fair tugs at the heart strings......isn't it good to know that you have played a part in the development of this boy...into a talented young man?
    You must be very proud Cath.
    Posted 18-11-2009 at 17:37 by Margaret Pilkington Margaret Pilkington is offline
  3. Old Comment
    West Ender's Avatar
    Thank you both. Yes, I am proud of him, he's a credit to his mum and a thoroughly nice young man.
    Posted 18-11-2009 at 20:12 by West Ender West Ender is offline
 

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