Now at the end of 2010 and for my family near the end of one of our live's great chapters.
Those that follow this blog will know my Dear Old Dad is struggling, so much so that about three days ago we were all summoned to the bedside. A darker mirror of just a couple of days before, we filed into a tearful room, and began to say our goodbyes. Typically, and in bog Irish fashion, large swathes of our genetics being Fitzpatrick, Brady and Murphy, Pa began, amidst the gurgle, to pick up and give short sharp replies to our commiserative group.
"What are you lot looking at? You're like a bunch of bloody crows sitting on a fence..."
Naturally this opened the door to progressively blacker humour as we'd cry a bit, brother Brendan cracked us up with a look at his watch and a twinkle eyed, "Will you hurry up?" to Dad which elicited a Mad Eyed sideways grin and something like "Get stuffed" from Pa.
It got worse from there, the common denominator being we still cried a lot and didn't really know if he'd peg out any minute.
In the end we decided lunch was in order and all went off for a coffee and a sandwich.
So it has continued the last few days. Brothers and sister tag teaming 4-6 hour stints with Pa, helping where we can, conversing when awake, and dodging bullets when he was really awake and pissed off something wasn't coming out quite the way he wanted.
Like trying to remember the name of a friend of his from his mining days in Fiji almost 57 years ago. Phonetically I know the man's name was Charley Sinamaimbao, even remembered him vaguely if that's possible, but my effort to work out what Pa was saying at first could have been as far off the mark as Bingbang Wallawallabingbang.
We got there in the end.
Onwards into 2011. Our beginning is being written as I type, and yours, I hope, will take you safely to the places, and waves, you dream of.
My pic, a moment from the Wake that Wasn't, a grainy dear old Pa holding brother Bill's hand, continuing to surprise us all.
Happy New Year.