My Dad died a year ago today so I thought it would be appropriate to write a little about him a year on from then.
People still ask me if I miss him. The funny thing is that I don’t. I’ve thought about why that is off and on over the last year and it’s down to a whole lot of reasons. I suppose that the most important is that we basically did everything together and thus hadn’t any un-ticked boxes remaining. We’d been on holiday many times and I’ve loads of videos as reminders of those times. We’d had the chance to have proper talks much more in the last few years which many people don’t get the chance to do. In what turned out to be his final year we managed to check off just about all of the little things that one could wish for: we’d the perfect final photo of him and my little guys, the three of us had a chance to say goodbye properly and James even got to thank him yet again for buying his bike.
However, I do miss him on behalf of the children. He had the chance to see James starting school but missed John’s first day by a year. He’ll miss hearing their tales from school over the years to come and he’ll not be there at their graduations. That last is probably his greatest loss because one of the highlights of his life was the days on which I graduated.
James misses him a LOT for sure and can’t understand why he’s not around to take him walks and do all the little things that seemed trivial at the time but which mattered so much to both of them. Of course, that’s the peculiar thing about the stuff which you remember: sometimes it’s the most trivial of things that turn out to be the most important when you look back on it.
John misses him too but didn’t get the chance to be with him so much so I guess that over time the memories of his granda will fade from his memory as the years pass by. My own grandfather died when I was about the same age as John was and I really only remember three incidents from my encounters with him so I guess that John’s memories will be pretty similar in detail.
As we all know one of the strange things about funerals is that you can find out a whole bunch of stuff about the person that you didn’t know beforehand or which trigger thoughts about them in you. For instance, I’d not thought about why my parents had bought the house that Dad finished his days in. It turns out that the reason was quite simple. Dad wanted a house with a garden for me to play in so they saved up and bought one. In fact an awful lot of things that they did subsequently date from the year that I was born. Wendy thinks that the silliest of those is the Christmas tree bought for my very first Christmas. Sure, the silver leaves and general appearance are very dated now but it’s been put up in the house every Christmas since then.
I think that one of the easiest ways of describing the birthday and Christmas presents that he bought over the years was “too dear” as my Aunt would call them. That’s not he’d have described them though as he didn’t seem to understand how anything could possibly be described as “too dear” if it was for me. Those are the kind of presents that he bought for James and John too, of course. Thus, they’ve each got an Aspire One when obviously they’re a) too young for them and b) they’re clearly “too dear”. And yet they both use their little computers just as much as the PSPs which he bought them the year before.
There was a simple reason why those things were never too expensive: he took on extra overtime and part-time jobs so that they never would be. Thus, whilst many people buy books for their university courses selectively and second-hand, Dad and me just went to the bookshop and bought everything on the list. As far as he was concerned he’d been working hard for 18 years just to make sure there was enough money to do exactly that.
As far as that education goes, to him doing my best wasn’t merely good enough for him but seemed to be much better in his eyes than that. Whilst the arrival of the letter saying that I’d been accepted into university was a relief to me, for him it was simply fantastic and over the years that followed he was always telling people that his son was going to university. Although James was merely starting on his education when Dad left us, he’d the chance to see the school videos from his first year and the award winning movie produced during his second year which, of course, he thought were just brilliant.
It turns out that he worked so much to ensure that nothing for me was ever “too dear” that there’s enough money left over to help James & John on their way too. At the moment, it’s looking like I’ll be able to continue to get those “too dear” birthday and Christmas presents for them on his behalf for quite some time to come. And, though he’ll not be there in person at their graduation days, there’s a good chance that they’ll have had a lot of help from him along the way to it.
Anyway, thanks Dad for all those memories and I hope that between the three of us we’ll create a whole bunch more times in the future that you’d have been just as proud of as that day when that letter arrived from Queens so many years ago.Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.