Father's Day without Dad: how I'll be remembering our special bond
Kimberley Brice was just 22 when her dad Timothy was diagnosed with a brain tumour. This Father’s Day, she remembers the things that made their father-daughter relationship so special.
Kim Brice beams with pride when she talks about her dad Timothy. “We were just very close. He was brilliant. I was always a real ‘daddy’s girl,” she says.
This will be Kim’s 12th Father’s Day without him. After being diagnosed with a brain tumour in February 2005, he died a few short months later at the age of 49.
Following in his footsteps
Smart, funny and laid back, Timothy worked hard as director of his own electrical wholesale business. Kim looked up to him and his work inspired her own choice of career. “I followed in his footsteps by doing a degree in electrical engineering,” she says.
As for so many who’ve lost their dad, Father’s Day will be a time of bittersweet reflection for Kim. Not least because Timothy wasn’t just a great dad – he was a great friend and a great bloke all around. “He was the first person I would tell things to, we were so close,” she says.
But any painful memories are mingled with joyful ones. “I remember we went to Tenerife on our last holiday together. We took the whole family. It was so special,” says Kim.
Saving the day
Kim remembers rushing home to be with her dad as soon as she found out about the diagnosis. “I quit university to help look after Dad. I deferred my final year” says Kim.
Timothy wanted to die at home, because that’s where he felt most comfortable. Kim’s mum gave up her job as a teacher and together they became his carers.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” says Kim. “But I wouldn’t change it for the world. Spending that time with him – taking him shopping, watching The Ashes on TV. It was special in its own way.”
Marie Curie Nurses helped when things got really tough. “Marie Curie saved us,” says Kim. “The nurse came and looked after Dad overnight so we could be at our best to care for him during the day.”
Simply the best
Although the illness changed Timothy, Kim hasn’t let that affect her memories of him. “That wasn’t the Dad I knew really,” she says. “I remember who he was before the brain tumour – the Dad he was growing up.”
Even his funeral was a reminder of her ‘real’ dad. And his wicked sense of humour.
Kim explains: “Dad chose the place he was going to be buried. He was really strict about what he wanted for the funeral. All bright colours,” she says. “He made us play ‘Simply the Best’ by Tina Turner. He was always funny like that.”