Well, it’s been a while. For those of you who care to read my blog regularly, I have perhaps been notable by my absence. Although I look over the last six months, and see how the posts have dwindled away to nought. It is only now, looking back, that I realise how hard the last six months have been for me, and the lack of blog posts is perhaps a reflection of this. Summoning the energy to sit and write something has been beyond me, often as not, although I would occasionally reprimand myself for my laxness.
To any that really care to look back, it’s clear this all really started when my dad took ill earlier in the year, since then my mind has clearly been elsewhere, and I have spent my time instead seeking escape from my darker thoughts, thoughts that I didn’t really want to face. However, sometimes life leaves us little choice, and eventually I had to face the thoughts and feelings when my dad took a turn for the worst last month, and shortly after, he passed away. To some, writing about my dad dying might seem a little ghoulish, gauche even. Something that shouldn’t be written about. For me, I think it’s something I need to do, so if you don’t want to read on, don’t. Part of me wants to do this as a bit of a cathartic exercise, an exorcism if you will (though I don’t think he’s actually haunting me…if he’s haunting anywhere it’ll be his favourite bar in Benidorm), and part of me wants to do it, because one of our last conversations was about the fact that my writing had dropped off, and he wanted me to get back to it.
By the time he died, it was his time, there was little left of him (both physically and mentally – the last time I saw him, in hospital, he thought he was in Spain – rather typically of my grumpy father, his luggage had been lost en route) and he needed to rest. But this doesn’t mean I don’t miss hearing his “Hello daughter” when I pick up the phone, or knowing he’s there for me to talk to if I need him (though I can’t promise I never talk to him now). I don’t think I, or my brothers, would claim he was the best dad in the world, he made plenty of mistakes in his life (but what is it they say…‘To err is human’), however he was our dad, and I wouldn’t have changed him for the world. He taught me to be who I am, he never failed to believe in me, even when I didn’t always believe in myself, and I loved him dearly. And I don’t think there will ever be another man that loves me as truly as my dad loved me, and that is how I always felt around him, loved and safe.
He was quite a complicated fella, for someone so simple, he was grumpy, shy, belligerent, stubborn but most of all, he was funny. Really, really funny. I have many happy memories of random conversations, or affectations he would take on, there was the period of time he insisted the W in Kegworth was silent and so it should be pronounced “Keg’orth” (though in his defence, this might be true, I’ve never bothered myself to investigate), the frantic phone call when he wanted me to confirm Finley in Home and Away was actually called Finbar (I didn’t) and the fact “D.I.V.O.R.C.E” or “Suspicious Minds” seemed to be on repeat in his car whenever he picked me up around the time of him and mum splitting up. I think I can firmly lay my dry, often inappropriate, sense of humour at his door.
Just over a week has passed since his funeral, my uncle did the service for us, and it was perfect and captured dad perfectly. The two weeks before the funeral became almost unbearable, as did I as I struggled to cope with our loss, and a future with a dad sized hole in it. However since the funeral the load has become easier to bear, and I feel like I’m starting to find myself again, and I know there isn’t a dad sized hole in my future, he’ll always be there – just not in the same way as before. Over summer, whilst dad was ill, I struggled with the kids, I struggled with myself, and I struggled spending time at home – the upshot of this has been the kids prefer J even more than before, and the boy’s behaviour took a huge downturn, which even started to affect him at school in the last couple of weeks. So my job now is to build some bridges, get us all back on an even keel (sorry to mix my metaphors) and live life to the full, afterall, it’s what my dad did.