Talking to mum over the Christmas period was nice as she appears to be finding her feet with this new way of life that she has had to adjust to since my dad passed away. It’s nice for me as a son to see her starting to get her head round it and when we was all around the Christmas table for dinner we all started to see her and her ‘new’ personality beginning to blossom. She’s funny, she’s of course kind but sadly I think she will always remain tight! I joke, she is a very generous person, but I know at this time of year she struggles more as Christmas was what my dad lived for. Having time off and all of his family around him was quite literally what he worked the whole year for. So when a time for all of us to create a new Christmas without him came along it was a little strange to say the least and I reckon this year was maybe the first time it felt ‘normal’. That is completely the wrong word but it is so hard to explain. Maybe to say the first time I knew he wasn’t going to be there or phoning me Christmas morning singing Merry Christmas down the phone at me. That I miss.
Christmas is always how I remember him and no doubt how I always will but something else has evolved that fills me with so much happiness as in an absolute privilege to witness. It has always been there but I guess now it’s presence is amplified in my dad’s absence. It’s seeing the family unit my brother has created, it is almost like watching he and I growing up again. My brother, his wife and their two boys are a virtual replica, a next generation carbon copy of what I had growing up with my mum, dad and lee. That in itself is something my dad was so proud of with my brother. The time, love and dedication that he puts into his family. I’ve never really known Lee to ask for anything, he’s never thrown his toys out of the pram because he couldn’t do something, he just wants his family unit to be happy, for them to want for nothing. Exactly what my dad was all about. People have always said I am just like my dad which is of course true to a certain extent but I think I had always lacked the ability to find my direction and grow up. They probably used to say it as they’d see us together a lot with work but the truth is Lee is so much more like him than i am. If he didn’t inherit those traits the he has certainly worked tirelessly to emulate them which I don’t think is the case. Being like my dad comes very naturally to Lee and if he doesn’t see it for being so close to it then I hope one day it twigs.
It’s like when I check his social feeds and the images he puts up are just like an updated selection of pictures from my childhood, just there are no awful bowl cuts or moody corduroy trousers. It’s strange to say but I can just imagine looking into the future and if my dad was still here he’d be an old man and seeing him sitting back and watching a replay of his family life but as a spectator. I think I know why I feel this as I am seeing it as if I were lee’s youngest. How as the youngest you get cut a lot more slack and can get away with murder! The first born gets the brunt of the expectation and strictness that enables numbest two to operate under the radar a bit more. Not that we know it at the time, we still feel like we’re hard done by.
The way my life panned out I was so lucky to spend so much more time with my dad than probably a lot of other sons. Naturally working alongside him was testing at times with the inevitable power struggle and I don’t think I could count how many times he sacked me but the bottom line is he gave me opportunities, he gave me a trade and he gave me his time. On reflection I squandered it’s full potential and meaning but it planted so many seeds that would begin to flower in my future. My dad’s voice was big and his delivery was quite overpowering and back then, it did make my own very much muted. To this day I will always generally be the quietest in the room but with a million things I want to say. Now that silence has adapted to not speaking for necessity but to speaking up when needed. So many people talk for talking’s sake and they never hear what is actually being said to them. My dad used to listen to me, in a very delayed fashion. Once enough time had passed he would trade off what I had said as his idea!
He always knew what he wanted and his heart was nothing but locked in the right place, just sometimes maybe his wanting of that could be a little offset or overwhelming but that never meant his intention wasn’t pure. I share that trait with him, it’s something I have had to actively work on and probably the best way to describe what he/I did was to expect everyone to see and believe that our opinion was correct regardless of whether it was or wasn’t because it was our strong vision that blinded us from compromise or seeing another point of view. Not from an arrogant or rude stand point but just from that of a confident belief that what we thought was going to be right.
I guess that may be the main part of my evolution from my dad to myself. That really is something we should be as children to our parents, an ever so slightly revised version of them. That is human evolution, not growing wings or losing our little toe but refining ourselves internally. Our genetics are given to us, they are us, each and every cell is our direct link to who we are and where we have come from all the way back into the family history books but also they are who we can be and who we can become. It’s stuff like this I could now have spoken to my dad about for hours and still now three years on that it just doesn’t feel like he has gone. As I’m sure anyone who has lost a parent will agree it’s like I saw and spoke to him yesterday and a lifetime ago at the same time. I notice more of him in me now than I did before and although it forces you into an absolute independence, I no longer have the luxury of calling him if I can’t suss out why the electrics have tripped.
Strangely for me this has given me more questions that I’d like to ask him but I assume that may be because I don’t have the option anyway. The time that has passed has been so long but gone so fast yet it’s not like he has been left in the past, he is still very much with me on a daily basis and I don’t mean that in a religious way but more of a spiritual way which is something the old me would have 100% poo-pooed before. But now my mindset is different and my mind is clear I see and feel a lot more. That is one of the huge benefits to actively working on your wellness. It acts as a filter to everything you don’t need in your life and allows you to choose what passes through your personal firewall.
The physical is something I miss too, we would always have a hug as I was leaving if I had been round for whatever reason and his trademark move was a mafioso styled kiss on the cheek with his moustache pronging you in the process. I still have his text messages on my phone, not a great deal of them as I had recently had to replace my handset but every so often I’ll remember they are there and I’ll have a little read through. The conversation is during his treatment and he is bragging about his progress. He was so strong, I thank him for the strength he passed through on to me.I’m just saddened that I could use none of it to help him. I’d have transferred every molecule of it back to him if it could have made a difference for him and my mum.
That’s not how it works though is it, ultimately we will all be left to deal and face things on our own and with the strength we can summon at the time. We get the support and love from those around us, those that rally around us when we need them the most. I was lucky to have a dad like I did and I’m equally aware of how lucky I am to have the mum that I have too. The relationship and friendship her and my daughter have formed melts my heart just as it would have my dad’s. For all of his noise and bellowing he was as soft as a bears belly and if you was ever privileged to see that side of him then welcome to a very select club.
So as three years without him has passed in the blinking of an eye I continue to adjust daily to the rest of my life without his input. Yet I feel that is not the case, his input will be with me and affect me, what I do and the decisions I make until I shut up shop myself.
So thank you dad for everything you ever did for me, for everything you sacrificed for me without me knowing. It took me a while to dial in but I think you’d be happy with what’s going on over here now. you gave me the vessel and all of its component parts and I think now I have just about worked out how they got together properly. I know I’ll never stop missing you but what you gave me when you left, I know has embedded itself in my future. You were and always will be my hero, my tutor and my friend and on top of that, I got to call you my dad.