I’ve been trying to think of a post to honour my dad on Father’s Day. The thing is, dad and I weren’t ever really close. At least, not until later in life. He was a bit of a larikin, at least in his later years. His post-family years. He was brought up in a fairly strict family, and did what they, and society, expected of him. When he and mum divorced, he lived the life I think he always had wanted to. Or at least thought he wanted to. He liked a rum and coke (or two) and nothing came between him and his golf on Saturdays.
People who met him, liked him. He was friendly, liked to laugh, liked jokes – funny and lame ones. He was sarcastic and witty, which is where I get it from. He loved his music.
He loved his family too, he just didn’t know how to show it. Being a dad didn’t come naturally to him. Not long before he passed he said, “I know I wasn’t a good dad, but I’m going to be a great granddad.” I think he would have been, too. If he had lived long enough to really give it a go. He thought the world of Nicklas, and the happiest I had seen him in a long time was whenever he was around Nick. “Our little man,” he called him.
Now he has another grandson, and a granddaughter, neither of which he lived long enough to even know about, let alone meet. My dad died at 61 years of age, from a massive heart attack. The only advice I ever remember him giving me was, “Don’t make the same mistakes I made. Years from now you’ll look back on this time and realize they were the best years of your life.” He said this when I was really struggling with a baby, post-partum depression, my marriage. I knew what he was saying.
My dad passed almost three years ago, just a couple of weeks after Father’s Day – the last time he was with all his girls at the same time. There are days where I don’t think about him, and there are days where I forget he’s gone, and I think he’s just around the corner playing golf. There are times – when I see pictures of him mostly – that my heart hurts so much I can’t fathom what the point of this life is for if all we do is die anyway.
For the most part, my dad did what he wanted to. He had a heart condition, and probably should have taken much better care of himself. But I think he believed he could defy the odds. I also think a part of him thought, “I will live how I want, and enjoy whatever time I have” and refuse to be told what to eat and how to take care of himself.
I don’t know what happens to us, when we leave this world. I’d like to believe in heaven. I’d like to believe in families being reunited for eternity. I’d like to believe one day I’ll see him again. I just don’t know. I do know I wish he was still here. I wish it with all my heart.
If you’re lucky enough to still have your dad, give him a huge hug and tell him you love him. Not just today for father’s day, but every chance you get.