I used to like to think I had a great family.
But, I’m not alone in my sadness at my mother’s passing.
My mother, Lillian, passed away on November 10, 2017 at the age of 89.
She was the first woman to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
The disease, which can cause the tremors, paralysis and seizures, has left her wheelchair-bound and severely disabled.
She died of complications from Parkinson’s.
But it wasn’t until she was 70 that I realised she was the mother I never had.
My father, Bob, died at the same age, in 1992.
When I first met Bob in the early 1960s, he was living in his family’s farmhouse in County Wicklow in Northern Ireland.
He was one of the most successful people I’ve ever known.
He had a brilliant business plan.
He built the first company in the world.
It’s still there today, and still profitable, with more than 4,000 employees.
He’s the reason I still get to visit my family and friends every week, every day.
I had always dreamed of living on a farm, working on my own family business, working with my hands, and helping to run it.
It was a dream that I knew I’d never be able to fulfil.
I grew up in the Northern Ireland countryside.
My dad used to take me to the local park every Saturday to watch a football game.
I loved that, but I knew there was a limit.
At the age, I was, my dad was the most talented player I ever saw.
My family home was on the other side of the road, away from the village.
It looked out on a small stretch of farmland, and I didn’t know any better.
But my dad knew better.
He used to tell me stories about how his family would grow crops for him and his brother.
He’d tell me about how he’d walk across fields to make money, and how his son and daughter-in-law would grow food.
I never really understood why.
It all seemed so ordinary.
But then, one day, my mum died in a car accident.
The crash was my fault.
I was a bit shocked.
I didn´t realise how lucky I was that she’d died in the car accident that caused so much pain.
It hit me.
I thought, What a miracle!
She died in my arms.
I just felt a bit relieved.
The next day, I went to the hospital.
I got a CT scan and a radiogram.
The doctor said, “You should have a CT for Parkinson’s”.
I was shocked.
She’d been diagnosed with the disease a few years before, but had never really known what was wrong.
But the radiogram confirmed her diagnosis.
It showed that my mother had Parkinson’s and had a genetic mutation that made her unable to make nerve cells in her motor neurons.
My mum was never able to get on a motorised wheelchair.
She had a complete breakdown.
It didn’t take long before she stopped going to the doctor.
It took her life to save my life.
I don’t think I could have had a better mother.
My mom had a very caring and gentle mother.
She loved her children, especially me.
She used to call me daddy, and said, Daddy, I love you so much.
But she also used to say, Daddy you can’t touch my toes.
When she died, I thought she had given me my whole life.
My daughter- in-law was the one who got me started on a business plan, when she and my dad were still young.
I started my own business in the late 1960s.
It went from nothing to £100,000 in just a few months.
I would work all day, until 3am, taking orders from suppliers, before they got to me.
That was the start of my success.
I realised I could do anything.
And I wanted to do it, and everything in life, with my family.
I decided that I wanted a family.
My first wife was a model and a very beautiful woman.
She didn’t like to be touched, but she knew what was right for me.
And she made sure we were treated well.
My eldest daughter- daughter, Mary, was a beautiful and lovely young woman.
But we had no money and had no job.
I told my first wife I was going to get a job.
She said, you’ll never make it.
I said, what?
She said to me, that’s a bit like saying you’re not going to be a doctor.
But I said I’m going to have a career.
I used that as a learning tool to help me through life.
Mary loved her work, but we couldn’t have her as a wife.
She knew I loved her, and she knew she loved me.
So we decided to have our first child