Thursday, 6 July 2017

Loss of a Parent

On Saturday 6th of May my lovely Dad passed away. He was 92.

Dennis Osborne 1924 -2017

Unfortunately I was not with him. He'd had a short spell in hospital and was due to go home on the day that I left for Dubai. I went away confidently thinking that he would be settled back into the care home that he'd recently moved into. Two days later I had a call in the night to tell me that his death was imminent. I knew I'd never get home in time. The nurse told me that he was still in good spirits and had asked for a milk shake and that she would stay with him. Half an hour later he'd gone.
I hadn't realised how much time I had spent caring for and thinking of him, it has left a big hole in my life and an ache in my heart.

He was not a religious man so the cremation service was a simple affair. I was strong enough to read the eulogy which I shall copy below .

Dad had a long, healthy and happy life. In fact you could say it was a charmed life.

1941 was a bad time as living close to Northolt Aerodrome the air raids were heavy, Our grandfather was an Air Raid Warden as he was unable to join up due to injuries sustained in WW1 in France.

Dad at 18 was helping out the Wardens, when a bomb exploded in the middle of Dulverton Rd. a few doors away; he was soon doing traffic control. Another night both dad and his brother Bill stayed outside the Air Raid Shelter in their backyard as they thought they may have to dig Mum and younger brother Bob out. He showed courage.
 He joined the RAF at the age of 19 and went on to train as a pilot in South Africa, where he gained his wings at 21. He had a good war as he never went into combat but was based in England maintaining the planes.

On one occasion he was part of a squadron that had to fly 18 Mosquito planes over to Australia, at the last minute Dad had to pull out, none of those planes that left ever reached their destination, it was not dad’s time.

Dad spent a short time as an instructor. I hope he didn’t teach his pupils to do the things he did like flying down through Cheddar Gorge, chasing rabbits, flying under bridges and playing hide and seek in the clouds.

For his 70th birthday Peter and I bought him a flight in a Tiger Moth. The first thing he did was to ask the co pilot if he could loop the loop and do a stall turn. I won’t repeat what Mum said at the time. She did phone me a few days later and say that ‘he hadn’t shut up about it’

He also managed to walk away from a motorbike crash, a car accident and then there was the time he had to crash land a plane. An eye witness to the crash later was talking to dad in the pub and commented that the poor pilot never stood a chance, dad just agreed and drank his beer.

It was during this time he met Freda, our mum. With 3 of his mates on his motor bike he went to the local pub He walked into the bar and spotted mum, he went over and finished off her drink, which I’m sure did not go down well and as he left the pub he told his friend that he was going to marry that WAF. And he did in 1949. Mum and Dad had over 60 years of wedded bliss.

On leaving the air force, dad was undecided as to which direction to take; it was either the Police force or become a teacher so at the flip of a coin he went into teaching. In 1951 he took his first job of woodwork and metalwork teacher at Hillingdon, near Ruislip and then promotion took him to Bridgewater in Somerset.

In 1961 Westhaven, a new residential School for children with special needs at opened in Uphill near Weston-Super-Mare and dad got the job of deputy head with Freda at his side as deputy house mother. Mum and Dad spent 7 happy years working along side each other at Uphill and when the position of Headmaster and Matron of a new school in Spalding was advertised, they applied. Again lady luck was on dad’s side and in 1968 the family moved to Spalding.

Dad had a knack of getting what he wanted for the school, basically he did what he wanted and then asked permission, not sure if he would get away with that today. He and Mum together held many successful dances at the school to help raise funds for equipment. Being a residential school we lived during the week at a flat adjoined to the school and Peter and I often went down to the common room in the evenings. It was like having an extended family. I later went on to teach at the school and had to do night duties and the atmosphere was always happy and friendly.
Dad was offered and took an early retirement, This meant he was able to spend more time doing the things he loved, woodturning, pottering in his greenhouse and enjoying holidays and cruises abroad where he and Mum made many good friends

Dad certainly had a wicked sense of humor.
When Pete was young dad took him canoeing, Pete turned round to see Dad on the bank with tears streaming down his face as Pete was bravely paddled like mad against the tide – going nowhere.
He also thought it highly amusing to give me as a baby, a feather with honey on it. And watch the bemusement on my face as I tried to get rid of it.
Once on holiday mum had to stop him from swapping the signs over on the toilets, which he thought, would have been highly amusing. I could go on
I look at our own children and I am pleased to say (I think) that they seem to have inherited Dad’s sense of fun.

His memory will live on.
Dad at 21

One of the hardest things is clearing his house, all the personal things, and things he and Mum had bought that no one wants any more.
I now have one final task and that is to reunite him with Mum by placing his ashes with hers.

I found a lovely poem which my niece read at the service:
Feel no guilt in laughter, he’d know how much you care.
Feel no sorrow in a smile that he is not here to share.
You cannot grieve forever; he would not want you to.
He’d hope that you could carry on the way you always do.
So, talk about the good times and the way you showed you cared,
The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared.
Let memories surround you, a word someone may say
Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day,
That brings him back as clearly as though he were still here,
And fills you with the feeling that he is always near.
For if you keep those moments, you will never be apart
And he will live forever locked safely within your heart.


  1. To live in hearts we leave behind Is not to die. ~Thomas Campbell
    So sorry for your loss.

    1. Jim, that is lovely. Not heard that before. Thank you

  2. Lovely post, such an amazing life. Lives. Thanks for sharing this with us, their story. My deepest sympathy for you and your family. May your father rest in peace, and may peace be with you as well.

  3. Just read this aweful news.

    Some say your lossing your last parent is something special because your somehow getting the feeling your
    on your own now. They are right! It is feeling a bit like your the next generation now and while your dad (I'll presume) was 92 I think it was Always a reasurance to know he would be around when things get difficult, or when you wanted to talk about something. Knowing that's gone now, I'll wish you all the strenght to go on one your own. Soo sad you couldn't be there when he passed away, but I'll think he would be very pleased to know his daughter was taking here own steps in the big world.

    Little hug from The Netherlands Mo, take care, let your grief come, they are only proof he ment something for you.


    1. Rene, you must have been through the same thing to know how I feel. Thank you so much for your words of kindness. I don't think it has sunk in yet as I still keep thinking things like, 'I must tell Dad that'
      I guess we are orphans now?? Ha Ha
      hugs from the UK

    2. Yes we probably are ...

      Lost my dad last year.


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