Dear Mum and Dad

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Dear Mum and Dad,

Guess what? Next week Paul and I are going to Bermuda. It’s our turn-the last ones in our family-to visit this island of paradise. And what really excites me the most is that we’re hopefully going to retrace some of your steps, and see the things you saw for the first time, decades ago.

Our sister Sue (and John) have so generously invited us to stay with them in their apartment. Do you remember when the suggestion was made for you to go in the early 1970’s? Whilst we have been fortunate enough to  have visited many far flung places around the world, you had never ventured further than Blackpool for family holidays, in England. Outside England I think there was only an odd trip to Dad’s homeland, Ireland, and one holiday in the Isle of Man.

Because I can’t ask either of you, I wonder what did you feel like when the time came for you to go? I vaguely remember the excitement at home. You had never been on an aeroplane before, and I can imagine you thought that going to Bermuda was as remarkable as flying to the moon.  Sue and then boyfriend John gave you an experience of a lifetime, and you returned full of exciting tales about your adventure. With the help of music cassette tapes, you described the unique sound of the steel bands and calypso songs such as ‘yellow bird‘. paradise

When your photos were developed you showed us images of vibrant, colourful fish,  even more colourful cocktail drinks, turquoise sea, and blindingly sunny skies. I remember you telling us about eating ‘brunch’.  Like you, we’d never heard of the word. With gawping mouths we tried to imagine (but how could we?) the banquet style breakfast-come-lunch, with delight!

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Being working class through and through, I’m sure you never dreamed of being in a position where you would visit anywhere as remotely exotic or as far away as Bermuda.  I wonder if you really knew where the island was in the world? Oh Jim and Kathleen, you didn’t know what was to come when you got home.

So sadly, eight years later, you died Dad, and left us. Too, too young. And there was more ill health and further sadness in store for the whole family.

But we’ll be thinking of you both as we step off the plane next week, and I’ll be humming the song you played non stop on your return- Bermuda is Another World

Loving you always, Sheena xx

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My Dad

Last night I dreamt about my lovely Dad, and today I feel as though I have been with him again. The dream was so very real and vivid; I could see the lines on his face and the twinkle in his eye as he smiled. I was slightly annoyed with him, as he’s had a pint of beer too many (which he often did) and was repeating himself (which he often did), but nonetheless I was absolutely thrilled to see him. Dad died in 1979, so his memory including his facial expressions and personality must be firmly embedded in my mind and being, and I couldn’t help thinking when I woke this morning with a smile that the imprint will be gone forever one day. His actually image that is. Although so many of the children of his five girls look like Jim Murray, if not exactly then they are the owner of his ears, or his deep set Irish eyes. Not morbid, just fact!

Oh Dad, you really did miss so much. What you started when you emigrated from Ireland over 70 years ago couldn’t have been dreamed about. I can’t tell you everything here, but you would have laughed more than cried. And do you remember how you used to brag about us all? Well you would’ve have had plenty of that to do, let me tell you. So for today you are a recent memory in my mind and I feel like I was with you last night. Tomorrow will be a different story. Always loved. Always missed.