This is my father. He’s dragging a tyre in the photo because he’s in training to do a sponsored walk to the North Pole, to raise money for a charity called TransAid.
Apparently, tying a tyre to your waist and then dragging it around accurately simulates the effort required to drag a sled with all the provisions you need for a two-week journey across the Arctic.
He’s 54, and he’s in spectacular physical fitness. Over the last few years I’ve seen him do sponsored hikes up Kilimanjaro and Everest, thousand mile cycles in ten days, marathons and triathlons. I’m 24 years younger than him, and I’m not even slightly as fit as he is.
Was, sorry. Got to get used to saying that.
Yesterday, my dad was killed during a training exercise in Britain’s Lake District. He slipped on a patch of ice and fell 700 feet into a ravine. By the time the rescue helicopter had arrived, he was already dead.
It seems unfair that he was ready to brave a trek to the North Pole – one of the most inhospitable parts of the planet – but what killed him was a slip and a fall up a hill just 50 miles from his house. A hill that he, and I, and my two younger sisters have climbed together, before.
Apparently I have to go and formally identify the body. Apparently I need to execute his will. Apparently I’ve got to organise a funeral. Suddenly my life has come to a standstill and a different life has arrived to take its place. I’m suddenly thrust into a world of paperwork and of calling distant relatives. A world of grief and consolation. A world in which the man I admired… the man I called “dad”… is no longer a part.
I feel woefully inadequate for all of these roles. I just want to phone up my dad and ask for his advice, and have him be there to help me, as he’s always been there to help me before. But that’s something that I can never do again.
Reddit: call somebody you love today. You might not get another chance.
tl;dr: My dad was killed yesterday in a tragic accident. Call somebody you love today.