My brother Donal phoned last night and reminded me that today is our father's birthday. He would have been 99 years old.
I would wake him up when I had a bad dream and he would roll over on his side in their small three foot wide bed and snuggle me in.
There was no need to speak, in the warmth, with his arm around me everything was back in order.Night time demons were banished and I was once again safe and secure.
The room in the Bons Secour Hospital was on the ground floor, big and bright, with long windows overlooking the garden. Luckily a five minute walk from home would get me there.
He shared the room with Mr Kidney (I don't know what was wrong with Mr Kidney but he out lived my Dad by many years ).
I would come to visit after school and often wished I could snuggle in and feel that all was well.He was full of good humour and fun joking about his predicament.
I'd look out at the magnolia tree and when someone came who wanted to talk to him,I'd go and walk in the garden and sit with a heavy nine year old heart under the magnolia blossoms.
Death was in the air, we all knew it somewhere. It hung around us by day and night.
My father died in 1965 it took me a long time to revisit these memories and find the treasure of love I had buried so deep.