Tonight , following the day spent with my dear friend who lost her father this day , I am listening to Dire Straits. It was my father’s favourite. I am bowled over by a desire to write about him, to bring him alive again. He died in 2009 , he had dementia , as with most of these kind of cases he didn’t specifically die of that, but essentially it caused his death. Tonight I looked at the stars littering the night sky in my moonless back garden, I saw his smiling face in my mind and I rejoice now at the freedom I have retrieved back from contrived religion , to reclaim my father back from the dead. When he died , I was a new Christian, I came to the church in a bad way , as many do, with a broken marriage and an unhappy heart. My father died amongst the wreckage of my life at this time. For the following years , I was taught, inadvertently , that he was not just gone, but gone to hell. No one actually had the tenacity to say it so blatantly , but it was there, unsaid. At his bedside I remember trying to read the bible to him , with my new found faith and fervency , he practically pushed the bible away from me in anger, he was never a religious man. But even in his demented state he knew what he believed and now I am able to admire that. Nevertheless, I still have anger toward the ‘ church ‘ for taking away my years of mourning. I pushed him out of mind, he was gone, he was lost , he would’t be there on the other side.
Tonight , as I listen to the music he loved, which I love because of him, I am able sense his presence in the Universe, sense his spirit , his character , see his big round face, reddened from alcohol , with his big hands and quiet , deep demeanour and once again enjoy his memory with freedom and grace , set free from the constrains of the patriarchy . I always feel grief that my dad never saw me attain anything , I went back to University after his death , I got my degree , my career and my self together long after he left this earth. I wish he had seen me succeed . He did however meet his two Grandchildren. His first Grandchild was born before he succumbed to the ravages of dementia. He adored the bones of my child and I am so damn grateful that I was able to give him something good, something worthy , something for him to take away on his journey , a gorgeous curly haired rambunctious toddler all of his own , a precious gift . Maybe that was more exquisite to him than anything academic that I could achieve .
If My dad was here , he would be raging against the machine. Quietly but stoically. When he was literally dying of a stroke , he steadfastly refused to go with the paramedic. He wanted to sit in his favourite chair and smoke his roll up and drink his beer. When he was in hospital (finally once we got him there) , he left in the middle of the night in his pyjamas because he wanted to go home and he wouldn’t be told what to do . Obviously , at the time , these situations were very distressing. But now, I remember them with admiration and love. My dad , he was from a poor back ground, a farmers child, he was evacuated in the war to live in the country for 4 years! I wish I knew what that time was like for him, I yearn to hear , I regret so many conversations that never happened , so many things I don’t know , that I never will. Death , is all around us at the moment. Death is life. It’s the anchor which grounds us to the earth. It’s always there, yet we ignore it until it is thrust upon us and we often aren’t ready or prepared to process it.