As it approaches Valentines Day….
This will be my dad’s first anniversary since he passed away. Anyone in our family who has passed away tended to do it over the Christmas period. Not Grumpy Jimmy, he was not going to be in that wee squad. He was going it alone, and just in case we should forget he made it a good one.
Last year, I had Pete’s parents over for dinner (it was a Sunday), it was quite a shock and I couldn’t really comprehend it as I had just flown over two weeks before and been telling everyone how great he looked. His skin was glowing and he was much more restful (he had Parkinson’s and Dementia) and all looked as well as could be expected. Grumpy Jimmy obviously had other plans. Enough was enough and he was out. Game Over.
The death of a parent at any age is awful and I have had it at both ends of the scale.
My mum died when I was eight years old. To say this was traumatic is an understatement of a ridiculous scale. It is only later on you realise how much you will even miss them in the future. First day of high school. Your wedding day. Birth of your children. And all the good and bad in between.
As a small kid you kind of just get on with it. Everyone chaperones you around, wraps you in cotton wool and tries to do everything right. My family disintegrated. Completely. We fell apart.
My mum was the one who kept us all right, she was the one who got you where you needed to be. And God I miss that influence in my life. I missed her on so many levels, the girly bits, the puberty advice with my late teen trauma of boyfriends and crap friends, the fact I had three brothers, dammit I needed my mum.
My mum’s family were alienated from us, family disagreements drove us all apart, the remarriage of my dad kind of put paid to any reconciliations. More people devastated by the fact my mum was gone. Her sister. Her mother. Her father.
As the years went on, memories fade. I cannot remember how mum looked, I simply have pictures. I cannot remember how she sounded or smelled. I have nothing of who she was, only other peoples memories.
We cope, we get by, we sort out a way up the long and winding road.
Our family closeness was gone, our family dispersed. One by one we were alone again and we got on with our lives with just ourselves to rely on until we could learn to love and trust by experience.
When I had my own children I missed the fact I didn’t have my mum to pop over to and have a moan. No one there to mind the baby for an hour while I went to the hairdresser. She wasn’t there to feed the kids chocolate and have sleep overs. She would have loved being a granny.
So then as adults we face our dad’s death, and it was sad in the way that I feel loss for what could have been. Only looking back did I appreciate how tough it must have been for my dad, losing his young wife, being left with four children and he was just a young man himself with a lifetime ahead of him. He did what he could, in such difficult times. No one can judge who did things right or wrongly. No one has walked in his shoes, and nor would they wish to.We grieve again for the life we could have had. However what has happened is there, it is done, we must always face life head on. Look back and smile, do not regret or be sad, as it is simply what was, not what is.
I think dad would have been well chuffed seeing his four kids, all side by side, now grown. Dad wouldn’t have liked being the talk of the street though!! He hated anyone knowing his business, and I am afraid there was no missing you that day Dad…
We did good xxxx
‘And each one there
Has one thing shared:
They have sweated beneath the same sun,
Looked up in wonder at the same moon,
And wept when it was all done
For being? Done too soon,
For being? Done too soon.
For being? Done.’
Writer/s: NEIL DIAMOND