Saturday, 16 August 2008

Dear Old Tom

I was sitting thinking of years gone by, when my late father-in-law, Tom, came to mind. He was a lovely chap, and was always smiling. His wife totally and absolutely spoilt him, and all he ever did in the house, apart from DIY, was wiping up and making a pot of tea! Of course, when his dear wife died, he couldn't realistically look after himself, and as we owned a retirement home in Kent, he came to live with us there. We lived on the top floor for a while, and on Tom's request, we gave him his own room amongst the residents. He loved looking in on them to say goodnight, and thoroughly enjoyed the weekly parties we held for them all. He adored the homes dog, Pickles, and they were inseperable. He also had his girlfriend, Doris, a resident. He was very much loved by residents and staff alike, and had his little jobs that he liked to do to help the staff, like helping the gardener, and seeing that all the kitchen waste was securely tied up etc.,.

After he had lived with us for 5 years, he sadly got prostate cancer and died. This is a poem that I made up and gave out to the staff.


He always had a smile for you,

He always had a joke,

Happy in his own small world,

With his home, his wife and 'smoke'.

For miles around they knew him,

That kind and helpful man,

He'd clean their windows, mend their things,

And often an errand ran.

He always helped the old folk,

The helpless and the poor,

He had his wife and children,

And would never ask for more.

As years passed by he slowly aged,

But was a familiar sight,

Carrying peoples bags for them,

(But now his hair was white!).

His world it fell apart one day,

When he lost his treasured wife,

Suddenly she wasn't there,

He'd lost part of his life.

He needed looking after,

So came to live with us,

And tried to settle down here,

With the minimum of fuss.

The tables began turning,

He was 'useful' once again,

As he helped the ladies and the staff,

In his own little domain.

He had his faithful Pickles,

Doris, and the staff,

His garden and his rubbish bags,

He always liked a laugh.

You made him feel so needed,

You made him feel so proud,

As he helped you in the kitchen,

And joined in with 'the crowd'.

At parties he would hold the mike,

And sing with all his heart,

I think he was his happiest,

When he heard the music start.

But sadly Tom became unwell,

And illness took it's toll,

He couldn't help us any more,

He couldn't play 'his role'.

His garden patch grew weedy,

The rubbish piled up high,

His strength it fast was fading,

To see him made us cry.

But Tom was totally unaware,

Of what lay in store for him,

He relished all the love you gave,

And returned it with a grin.

Tom didn't suffer any pain,

You gave him so much care,

And when time came for him to leave,

Again, you all were there.

Our lives are all the richer,

For knowing dear old Tom,

And we owe so much to all of you,

For making him 'belong'.

I know he's not too far away,

I feel him everywhere,

And when next we have our party,

Don't be fooled, 'cos he'll be there!

And in all our future summers,

If you would like a treat,

I'm sure you'll feel him sitting,

In his 'personal' garden seat.

You show love and understanding,

In everything you do,

So from Lennie, Sandie and Pickles,

Our heartfelt thanks to you.

This is a picture of Tom and his lovely wife Flo.


granny grimble said...

Oh dear! You made me cry Sandie.
I remember taking a photo of Tom and Daddy sprawled out in their deck chairs fast asleep in Dad's garden! I believe they had hankies on their heads!

Croom said...

Oh dear, that was a tear jerking but well written poem Sandie. I can hardly see the keys as I type. Tom meant a lot to all of us. Do you remember when I came to stay with you and we gave a little treat to the folk? I dressed up as a ‘has been’ fairy. They all loved it and our Tom was delighted. He loved the feeling of being part of the team and not just the residents didn’t he?

Sad, but lovely memories. Flo was also such a lovely lady with skin as soft as a babies ***

GoldAnne said...

that was sad but lovely Sandie

love Anne xxx

Babs (Beetle) said...

That was lovely Sandie. I bet the staff appreciated it :O)

I'm getting a bit sad at all these memories that have gone now.

Jeanette Spain said...

Oh Sandie that was lovely, I think you made an old man feel useful and happy again. Jeanette Spain

Croom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
weechuff said...

Thank you all for your comments. As Lennie, (my husband and Tom's son) gets older, I see so many little expressions that remind me of Tom. Those of you who knew him will be surprised to know that he died in 1992, 16 years ago! It only seems a couple of years to me.

Anne said...

What wonderful happy memories - even if you didn't know Tom the poem brings him to life. Such lovely words Sandie. Thank you for sharing them with us all.

Swubird said...


You are so right. Usually, I try to make the rounds to everyone's site on a fairly frequent cycle. But somehow I missed yours. I am so sorry, and just to ensure that this never happens again, I've added you to my blogroll of Important Sites. For some reason, I thought that I had already listed your site.

As to your post, and the poem - they were wonderful.

"You show love and understanding,
In everything you do,
So from Lennie, Sandie and Pickles,
Our heartfelt thanks to you."

What an incredible ending. Between you and me, I would give anything to be remembered like that.

Happy trails...

weechuff said...

I couldn't have wanted for a better dad-in-law:0)

Thank you for visiting, and for your kind words. He was a lovely man:0)

Sindie said...

Aaaaaaah, the stories I could tell!Especially about the rubbish bags! Tom was an excellent granddad, always thinking up new games. He used to come and play with us in 'the adventure tree' which was a weeping willow with ropes and swings and ladders strung up on the inside. You'd always find him out playing with us!One day we came home from school and Tom and dad had used rope to completely string up the back garden like a huge spiders web! They'd strung it from side to side and then up and down. We had a real struggle to get through it when we came home. Such happy memories. :0)