Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Arthur Silmon 1931 - 2013

It is with a heavy heart and much sadness that I return to this blog with the news that my dad, Arthur, sadly passed away on the 2nd of August aged 82. Dad had had a lot of health issues in recent years and he finally succumbed to them during his latest stay in hospital.

Let me tell you a little bit about my Dad.

He was born Arthur Ferdinand Silmon on the 13th of February 1931 in Cartagena, Spain. His mum was Spanish and his father was an English engineer working in Spain. They eventually returned to Newcastle-upon-Tyne where my dad grew up during the Second World War with his sister and two brothers. After another stint in Spain my dad again returned to England. He did his military service and eventually forged a career for himself as a translator. Being bi-lingual made learning languages easy and he was soon translating from various languages such as French, Italian, Portuguese as well as Spanish into English and in some cases vice versa.

He met my mum, his future wife, Marlene, in 1958 at a party in London and they were married a year later. Within the first year the first of seven children were born. Mum gave up her job as a nanny to raise us all and dad just got on with the job of earning enough so that we never went without. And we never did. There was always food in the cupboard, we always had nice clothes, we always went on holidays to Butlin’s or to Spain to see our many relatives, and Christmas’s were the best ever. I can truly say with Mum at home raising us and Dad as the breadwinner we had the best childhood anyone could wish for.

As we all grew up and made our way in life it was always reassuring to know that Mum and Dad were still there as a safety net in case we needed them. I forget how many times my Dad has had to bail me out of situations I’d gotten myself into through naivety and stupidity. I often tried to pay him back but after a few payments he would always say “That’s enough, you’ve paid it” with hundreds owing.

As me and my siblings own families grew Dad’s attention switched to his grandchildren, whilst still keeping an eye on his own kids. He would take our kids on holiday to Spain and trips all over England and beyond. Our kids would come back with all sorts of wonderful stories of where they’d been with “Grandad Arthur”. His love for his grandchildren was boundless. In fact his love for his enormous family was boundless. There was nothing he wouldn’t do to help out a family member in need, as many could testify.

So, that’s how Dad lived his life. A loving husband, Father and Grandfather. He enjoyed his trips to the pub. He loved a pint of bitter. He loved his food, especially seafood. He loved quiz shows, Times crosswords and anything to tax the brain. He loved classical music. He loved his garden. He was an avid gardener and loved growing and eating his own vegetables. He was an extremely intelligent man, self-taught through multitudes of books and encyclopaedias which were always at hand to answer questions raised by one of us or on TV. For his 80th birthday we bought him an iPad. This opened up a world of information for him via Wikipedia and the internet, he really loved being able to get answers to queries at the touch of a button.

Blog entries from roundabout April 2005 have documented how he was taken ill whilst on holiday in Spain which hospitalised him there for several months, much of it in intensive care. Then they told of how we got him home to England in an air ambulance which had to make an emergency landing at Stansted airport. Since the drama of that time he had returned to better health which enabled him to lead a better quality of life, not perfect, but still a decent quality of life which saw him return to work as a translator and venture out on daytrips and weekends with his children and grandchildren. His health problems persisted and he eventually had to go on dialysis three times a week which used to leave him tired and drained. Throughout all his treatments and trips to hospitals all over London he never complained but took it all in his stride, he loved life that much in spite of everything it threw at him. For the last month he was in and out of hospital with various problems and after bravely fighting off several life threatening events he finally fell asleep for the last time at 2.20pm on Friday the 2nd of August.

To say he will be missed is not enough. I still don’t think the full impact of his passing has hit me. He has always been there for me and now he’s not there anymore. The void is immeasurable. The pain is excruciating. I know with time it will get better but the mark my dad has left on me is indelible.

Goodbye Dad. I love you with all my heart and soul and if there’s an afterlife I can’t wait to see you there. Your loving son Carlos xxx
                                                                                  Me and Dad


jo said...

This is beautiful - I think we should read this at Dad's funeral. It puts everything in a nutshell.

And you are right the pain is excruciating. :(

Pepita x

Angie said...

Beautiful Carlos xxx

TitanicCabbie said...

A very touching tribute Carl.
My most heartfelt condolences to you all.
Chris x

SkippyMom said...

My youngest just walked out to see me crying. She asked what was wrong.

I simply responded "A beautiful man has passed away."

You have paid a wonderful tribute to your Father and I thank you for sharing it with so much heart.

He is so proud of you Carl. I know that.

I wish I could be across the pond to give you a hug right now. I hope this simple internet one does for now.

::hugs:: and love, Janine

london_cabby said...

Thanks Janine
He truly was a great father, grandfather and a great man.
Death should be abolished.
I hope you're doing ok.
Take care.
Carlos xx

Daniel Kennett said...

I feel as though I have no place to comment on this entry but I am an avid reader of your blog and have read every post. It has been a big inspiration for me so my heart truely goes out to you and your family. I just want to send my condolences at this sad time. I am sorry for your loss

london_cabby said...

All my readers are entitled to comment and I appreciate each and every one of them. Cheers Daniel

london_cabby said...

To all who've been waiting for a new post I will resume posting soon, even before my dads funeral which is not until the 6th of September
Many Thanks

Charlie said...

What a beautiful tribute. Your dad sounds like a top bloke. May he rest in peace.

london_cabby said...

Charlie: Cheers mate

Jeff said...

Although you dont know me I feel I know you through your blog, which I can relate to as a southampton cabbie, just felt I had to send my condolences at this very sad time.
That last blog entry was so well put and well written I can almost feel your pain through your words....feel for you, I really do.

Southampton cabbieGdomok

london_cabby said...

Thanks Jeff

Kier Coak said...

A lovely tribute to your dad,
Sorry it's a late comment.
I am a taxi driver in southern Ireland. Your stories are every Taxi drivers story. I can relate to every one of them.
thanks for sharing.

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John Frisk said...

a very touching tribute may he rest in peace ..
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