In my men’s group, I did some processing on an issue around my discomfort and procrastinating when it comes to connecting with those that have lost loved ones or are facing death. It came back in part to pain that I have in my heart, related to my dad dying when I was 25 years old. It’s over three decades since my dad died.

I remember clearly getting a phone call and the words I heard, “this is Marie (my dad’s secretary), I have some bad news, dad’s dead”. I always appreciate how she spoke to me simply and used “dad” rather than the formal British speak “your father”. Dad was 59.

He lived an extraordinary life. As for many of his generation he rose out of the ashes of the second World War. He was nearly fourteen years old when the war started and twenty years old when it ended. For some time he was evacuated to the countryside to avoid the bombing of the city he lived in, Birmingham. He didn’t serve in the armed forces because he was a valued scientist. Instead he worked on secret war programs. This fact was only revealed to me by my uncle in 2005.

He achieved great professional success in his life but I remember him, as do many others for his kindness and humility towards all people, regardless of status. I am also grateful for his openness to me to pursuing whatever career path made me happy in life.