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.
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