Wednesday, 22 May 2019


When I think about Rhys, a lot of memories come to mind. Some, however, are more powerful than others.

Thomas the Tank Engine and the Magic Railroad
Rhys loved Thomas the Tank Engine when he was little. As he got older we bought him train sets that he would build in his bedroom, taking them down when he'd finished playing with them. We'd watch Thomas the Tank Engine on TV, before he grew out of it and into other shows like Power Rangers.

One Christmas we bought him Thomas the Tank Engine on video. It didn't take long before we had to play the video for him. Up until then Rhys had never sat down to watch anything that was that long. I sat down in the arm chair and he climbed up on my lap. For the next hour and a half the two of us sat there at watched the movie. Rhys's attention completely captured by it.

I don't think that either of us got so immersed in a movie again until Avatar came out and we went to see it at the cinema one Christmas. Walking out of the cinema I looked at my watch, turned to Rhys and asked him if he knew what time it was. He had no idea. When I told him, we were both stunned by how quickly the time had flown by.

Sitting in the cinema watching the trailers before the movie.
At the end of each trailer we would look at each other and then give a thumbs up, thumbs down or a shake of the head depending on whether we wanted to see the film or not. Sometimes if we really wanted to see it we'd be nodding our heads.

Mock fighting/pushing each other off the bed.
Finger Jab!

Rhys and I had a game we used to play whereby we would try to poke each other with out index fingers. Sometimes we'd use more than one finger if we were trying to keep count of how many we'd managed.

Invariably these turned into mock fights.

At times these fights would erupt while we were watching something on TV in his Mum and my bedroom. Very quickly things would escalate into wrestling matches where we would try and push each other off the bed, the winner being the one that could push the other completely off the bed, keeping just one part of the body on the bed counted as still being on it.

Watching him sleep when in hospital.
Over the years we spent so many times in hospital. Being in there was tiring at times. There's something about being in a hospital that simply induces sleepiness in even the healthiest of people.
At times Rhys would fall asleep, and I would sit in the room reading a book or doing something on my laptop.

During those times I would find myself watching him as he slept. So peaceful. Free for a short time from whatever had required a stay in hospital.

Some times I would take photos of him while he slept.

Yeovil Hospital - July 2016

St Margaret's Hospice

Frère Jacques
When Rhys was little and it was time for bed I would go with him. When he wanted me to stay with him until he fell asleep I would sing to him. Before too long we had a regular song that I would sing while stroking his head in order to relax him. Even when he was older I would sometimes sing it to him when he was struggling to go off, or his illness meant that he wanted me to stay in his room while he tried to get to sleep.

Although it started as a regular children' song I added my own verse, it went like this, the verses being sung over and over until he had dropped off.

Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques
Dormez-vous, dormez-vous?
Sonnez le matines, sonnez le matines
Ding dang dong, ding dang dong.

Little Rhys-e, Little Rhys-e
Time for bed, time for bed,
Lay your little head down, lay your little head down,
Time for sleep, time for sleep.

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