29 November 2019

Mo Bro Ian on why he supports Movember

Dad, this Mo is for you
Real Stories

The last time I saw my dad, he was sporting a full beard which was unusual for him. Throughout my father’s life he was meticulous about his appearance and had been clean shaven through his career and long into his retirement. But in those last months, when his health had begun to decline, he had understandably neither the patience nor the desire to shave.
Fortunately, he suited the beard and I told him so. Even though he gave me some stick about the embryonic ‘Mo’ that I had decided to grow for Movember, I could tell he was pleased when I said I was doing it for him.

If I had to describe my father Albert “Arthur” Braid, the words I’d use would be ‘loyal’, ‘proud’ and ‘private’. He may not have been the most openly affectionate man – he favoured a vigorous handshake over a hug when he was pleased to see you – but we knew he loved us and was fiercely proud of his family.
If you didn’t know him, he could sometimes be difficult to read (a trait I’ve inherited) but when something really tickled him, such as his favourite Tom and Jerry cartoons, he would howl with laughter and that was a joy to watch.

I have been privileged and blessed in that until recently I have had both parents in my life for so long. Our last big gathering of family and friends was in August to celebrate my father’s 90th. A happy occasion to be remembered fondly by all who were there.

After my last visit with dad, I had to return home for a couple of days for some respite. I left knowing he was wearing my t-shirt and when I got home, I discovered my sister Gilly, had thoughtfully put dad’s watch in my bag. The instant I put it on, the 300-mile distance between us melted away.
Before I could return, dad passed away peacefully. It was his time and he was ready. Mum, Gilly and I were ready too, having been with him throughout  the last part of his journey. 
One of the phrases we often hear when we lose someone is: “I’m sorry for your loss”. It’s a genuine and considerate thought but I see it differently.
I haven’t lost my dad, we remain close. It’s just he’s changed the rules of engagement. I won’t ever lose dad. I’ll always be close to him when I’m listening to his beloved jazz, wearing his watch and talking about him with fondness and laughter.

Dad lived to into his 91st year and ‘touch wood’ I’m not doing too badly either. And that brings me to the focus of Movember’s annual fundraising campaign which is about raising awareness of the health issues facing men.
Both dad and I, in our own ways, have had a few ups and downs with our health. He looked after himself, which has meant he was able to enjoy many happy years with me, my sister, his grandchildren and his wife of some 66 years. Looking after your mental and physical health is a key part of the formula for a long and happy life. And it can work for others too.

What’s going to happen come the 30th of Movember? Well, despite early resistance, the Mo is growing not only on me but my wife and children too. But I don’t know. It’s certainly staying until after dad’s funeral and then we’ll see.
But for now, Albert “Arthur” Braid 1929-2019, this Mo is for you. RIP.