And yes, you did start with great news.
Firstly the band got announced for Hammerfest 3, which is something we'd been working on for a while and thankfully the hard work paid off. We finalised all the editing of the tour video and started to look into other exciting developments, many of which I can't go into yet but just to give you an idea that January started on a high.
Alas, sadness took over.
On Sunday January 16th my father in law, Peter Kirby, suffered a severe stroke. We had got in late from a gig in Birmingham where Gav (my husband) had done all the driving, only for him to pack up and scoot off to Scotland as soon as his Mum called to tell us the news. By 8pm that evening Gav was at the Kirby homestead in Port William.
It was a shock of course and no matter how much preparation you have it is always heartbreaking but preparing for years for news of this ilk, I'm sorry to say we had been.
Gav's Dad had suffered kidney failure about 10 years ago, a side effect of is diabetes. About 8 years ago he had a kidney transplant. He was recovering well when shingles hit and affected his eyesight. He lost all sight in one eye and was partially sighted in the other, this was hard for Pete as he was an avid reader. We'd spent hours discussing the finer points of Sherlock Holmes both being big fans. Things again started to improve health wise (although Dad had to walk with a stick) and the Kirby's retired from working in Bahrain and returned to the South West of Scotland and to Elsie's (Gav's Mum) home turf. Unfortunately illness struck again, with Pete wheelchair bound for a long period due to the diabetes now affecting the bones in his feet. The bones were rotting internally and eventually amputation was the only course of treatment to stop the spread any further. Pete also suffered with cancerous growths, but these could be easily dealt with as they were on the surface and no other treatment for them were needed other than removal - thankfully.
But what a difference the amputation made. I recall going to see them, and Pete standing up without zimmer or stick. For the first time in ages there was no pause to brace for the pain he felt everytime he stood. It was wonderful to see. It also meant that they could come to visit us at home as Pete could now handle the stairs at our house. I know that meant the world to Gav.
Christmas just, we were worried that the weather would hinder our efforts to spend the first Christmas is two years with Gav's parents. Nothing was stopping us this year and we packed all the necessary supplies plus sleeping bags and spade, just in case, and hot footed it up to Scotland for 5 days. And I am so thankful that the weather favoured us. Pete looked to be in the best health we had seen him for a long, long time. He had had two growths removed the day before we arrived which made him feel a little off colour the first day but come Christmas Eve much laughter and good times were had. It was good to see Pete in the kitchen cooking and, boy could he cook :)
Gav came home on the Monday after Pete's stroke. Dad was in a stable condition, no change overnight and there was not much he could do. Tuesday morning January 18th, Gav's youngest brother called to say the hospital had phoned and Dad was deteriorating. 5:45pm Dad passed away.
I am grateful that it was quick. The rehabilitation would have been very long, and for the most part he would have been just existing had he survived. He would never have wanted that. Pete lived life, just existing was not an option. I am grateful that Gav and his brothers, Clive and Richard, all got the chance to get to Scotland to see him while he was in the best of health before the stroke and one last time on the Sunday before he passed.
Pete never grumbled or complained about his illnesses. He was a positive man with the attitude of 'just get on with it', a typical Yorkshire man, proud and hardworking who had travelled the world, had three wonderful sons and the strongest and most adoring wife. He was a realist, a very practical man. He lived a very full life and even though he had battled diabetes, his Moriarty, for as long as I had known him he didn't let it get him down (or he never showed it if it did). He loved custard which meant an instant rapour with my Mum and me and enjoyed good wine a plus with my own Dad! Silly how it's those little things like custard conversations that make you smile, eh?
I couldn't have asked for a better father in law and I will be forever grateful that he accepted me into his family.
To use Watson's own comments regarding Holmes after his 'death' and the Reichenbach falls:
'A few words may suffice to tell the little that remains. An examination by experts leaves little doubt that a personal contest between the two men ended, as it could hardly fail to end in such a situation, in their reeling over, locked in each other's arms. Any attempt at recovering the bodies was absolutely hopeless, and there, deep down in that dreadful caldron of swirling water and seething foam, will lie for all time the most dangerous criminal and the foremost champion of the law of their generation. The Swiss youth was never found again, and there can be no doubt that he was one of the numerous agents whom Moriarty kept in this employ. As to the gang, it will be within the memory of the public how completely the evidence which Holmes had accumulated exposed their organization, and how heavily the hand of the dead man weighted upon them. Of their terrible chief few details came out during the proceedings, and if I have now been compelled to make a clear statement of his career it is due to those injudicious champions who have endeavored to clear his memory by attacks upon him whom I shall ever regard as the best and the wisest man whom I have ever known.'
Sleep well Dad, we miss you.