"His presence remains our spirit of Christmas, we know he is there with us, we find that comforting. We are happy, and people might find this odd, but our family Christmases have now become even more special."
By Dave Rogers, Chief Executive Officer of Midland Mencap
I guess the worst of days always start off OK. As a family our worst of days was Christmas Eve 1996, the day my father very unexpectedly passed away. My dad was Christmas, he loved the season and was the glue by which our whole family celebration was planned and enjoyed. In the days leading up to Christmas Eve he would spend his time delivering cards and presents to even the most distant of relatives and friends as well as come up with, sometimes the most ridiculous, ways of enhancing the Christmas spirit. Our Christmases were amazing, fun filled, family affairs and no sooner had one Christmas passed we’d all start thinking about the next one.
Then came that fateful day. We, my wife and four small children, were going to spend Christmas Eve morning at home before travelling to my parents for the festivities. Then wham! You just know that 5am phone calls never bring good news and I just knew something terrible had happened. Still full of sleep I struggled to comprehend the call, it was a neighbour, clearly distressed themselves, trying to tell me that my dad had been rushed to hospital, he was seriously ill, and I should waste no time in getting to his bedside. It took what seemed like an age to unravel in my mind what I’d been told. How could this be true? My dad was a bull of a man, fit, strong, and rarely ill. That was my abiding thought, he’s never ill. So, I set off to the hospital convinced that whatever had happened he would just shake it off and be home before you know it.