Wednesday, 5 January 2011
Memories of my Dad
He died about 10 years ago. I say "about 10 years" because I have a tendency to forget the dates when those close to me pass away. I don't know if my memory deliberately blocks the sad dates and only remembers the happy ones..I have a feeling that this is exactly what happens.
This photo was taken of my Dad and I at some function or other. My mother was never keen on attending such events as she suffered from Parkinsons Disease for many years and was reluctant to go out. So I often stepped in or my Dad would never have had a social life.
I never had a good relationship with my mother when I was growing up. I wanted a better one with my Dad but for many years he just went along with my mother's wishes for a quiet life.
It was only when I reached my late 30s that my Dad and I became closer. It was as a result of him apologising to me one day for all the times he felt he had sided with my mother against me. So from then on we had the relationship that he and I had always wanted. We had days out together. Day trips to France on the ferry, shopping in the hypermarket, followed by a lovely meal in the ferry restaurant on the return trip. And every year we would go to Royal Ascot, get dressed up and have a lovely champagne picnic on the Heath before having a flutter on the races.
When he had a massive stroke and became disabled, he really missed our trips. I would take him shopping with his wheelchair and then we would have a coffee after, but I know he hated being dependent on anyone. Later on he bought a mobility scooter which gave him some independence and he was able to pop into town for shopping and to visit me.
I moved to Turkey a couple of years before he died. Although I was glad to have had the chance to fly back to England and spend three weeks with him before he died. He never met Mr A but they did chat on the phone once. They would have got on very well.
Bomb's post made me stop and think about what I have to remind me of my Dad. Only three small things.
Firstly, his old driving license which reminds me that he was a terrible driver...dreadful. Even when he had his mobility scooter he drove it much too fast and if he was in town people had to leap out of his way to avoid being run down! Yes, Dad's driving was a standing joke in the family.
Secondly, his membership card to the local leisure centre. Before his stroke he belonged to the Early Risers Club. He would go off to swim at 7.00 am every morning. He loved it. I have a sad memory of this too. After his stroke he missed the swimming club dreadfully. One day, without telling anyone where he was going, he managed to get himself on the bus and to the leisure centre. He somehow negotiated the changing rooms and got himself into the pool. Goodness knows how he managed all this, he must have been so determined. Unfortunately he just couldn't swim or stay afloat anymore, got into difficulties and had to be rescued by one of the lifeguards. I cried so much when I heard what had happened. I was just so sad for him, but at the same time I admired him tremendously for his courage in attempting to do this.
I am not at all religious, but I do feel my Dad's presence at certain times. I do have conversations with him in my head, particularly if I'm going through a difficult time. I think it helps me to find the answers.
And the third memento of my Dad? It's a Santa Claus candle. It's never been lit. He had two of them..the other one is a snowman and my brother has that one. The Santa candle comes out every Christmas, whether I celebrate the occasion or not, and it takes pride of place. My Dad loved Christmas...the family, the food, the carols, everything. So this candle brings back lovely memories for me.
I think my brothers probably wondered why I only chose these three things from my father's belongings when he died. I had my reasons of course. The simplest things can give us the best memories.