Tuesday, 1 October 2013

I miss my dad

This is my dad. And me. Circa 1983. Note and appreciate the matching Laura Ashley wallpaper and curtains.

Today is my dad's birthday. Or at least it would have been, if he were still alive. He would have been 62 today.

My dad died three years ago. Time has dulled the pain of his absence enough that I can think of him without feeling that the breath has been knocked out of me, but I still don't know how to treat his memory; his birthday and the anniversary of his death. 

Dad was a very private man. He loved Manchester United football team, his family (possibly in that order), books, music and films. He laughed generously and often, and loved to play mischievous tricks. He loved words, and playing with words. 

I still find myself storing things up to tell dad. New words, jokes that would make dad laugh, books and films that he'd love. I feel so sad to think that I can never share these things with my dad again. It diminishes my pleasure in life knowing that I can't share any of the things I love with dad.

Richard and I saw Bill Bailey live on Saturday. I loved the show, but found myself thinking over and over how much my dad would have enjoyed it. I desperately wanted to share with dad the word, incretinate. To make stupid, cretin-like. I wish I could share Tim Minchin's song, Prejudice. Dad would have got even more joy, if that's possible, than I do from the use of the word homonym. 

My dad loved Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. He was so jealous, as I started reading it, that I would get to spend time with the characters that he'd followed. I felt so sad, reading the fabulous sequel that dad would never read, and learning what happened next. 

I feel deeply and intensely grateful that my dad passed on his love of life, his humour, his interest in books, films, politics and music to his children. I wish that I could still share these things with my dad. 

I wish that I could just have one more year of forgetting dad's birthday, exchanging books, poetry, films and music; of timing my phonecalls to coincide with the football half time (or full time), hearing dad's tone change from reluctant 'hello' to delight at hearing from his favourite (only) daughter. 

I never questioned my dad's love for me or my siblings. He took such delight in all of us, and celebrated our differences. He was interested in everything that we loved, and listened so intently as we shared our lives and interests, from rugby to classical music, the psychology of teaching to politics. 

I want to celebrate my dad on his birthday, but I still wish so much that he were still here.


  1. You look so much like your dad! What a lovely photo. I'm so sorry for your loss xx

  2. Hi Jo!
    Again, you have given us another beautiful, touching and well written entry and a peek at your soul. You have SUCH a way with words! I can't see a lot of your dad’s face in this picture but from what I can see, you sure do seem to resemble him! What a great picture! A treasure! (And what a cutie you were!!...and still are!:-))

    Your dad was born two years after I was. I tend to think of you as a peer so it is a bit difficult to realize I was older than him. I remember well those days when he was failing and he was waiting for a lung for a transplant. You had your mom there....your family was helping you move in the new furniture. We are coming up on the “Anniversary" of his passing at the end of the month. I always get weepy around the anniversary of my Dad's death and it was over nine years ago.

    But remembering your dad on his birthday and recalling all the love he showered on you and your family is a great time to remember him. Much happier than remembering the sadness associated with his passing. Even if I try to focus on the good times, that sadness comes as that day approaches. At least I find it happens near the anniversaries of sad events even when I am not aware of the date!

    How I wish your dad could have walked you down the aisle. I can imagine a smile similar to the one on his face the picture… but even bigger!

    Today I met with Pete, a landscaper, to look at doing some updates and stump removals out front to give the place a bit of Curb Appeal as we get ready to sell it in a couple of years. Last winter a huge, heavy snow split and broke four Arborvitae trees that my dad and I planted together many years ago. I was mentioning to Pete that my dad and I had planted them and started to get teary. They were the last remaining projects that my Dad and I did together. The others were removed several years ago when we filled in our swimming pool. Doing projects with my dad was so special. You had books and films and music and words that you shared with your dad. My dad and I did outdoor projects. We built a shed for the pool equipment, bottomless boxes for gardens, planted these trees…now they are all gone and soon even the roots will be gone, too. Sad but time moves on.

    Encretinate! Even my spell checker doesn’t know that one! Great word! Wrapping you in a huge hug from across the pond and understanding your sadness and longing to have just one more conversation with your dad.

    I didn’t know your dad, but I have no doubt at all that you were as special to him as he still is to you!
    Love you!!!