Saturday, January 03, 2015

Looking back

On 3 January 1974 I went to see 'Mary Poppins' at the cinema with my friend Paul. I was 13. I can't remember if Paul and I went on our own, or if we went with Paul's dad, but the reason was to get me out of the house.

During the night, my father had died. Aged just 53. He'd had a massive heart attack. My brother spent the remainder of the night lying in front of my door, to make sure I didn't come out and get involved in whatever was going on. He must have been 17. My mother was just 41.

I understand why I was sent to the cinema - to get me 'out the way' - but I don't remember if I knew what exactly what was going on. I can't remember if I was told my father was dead, or ill, or that I just needed to go out. I think I was told that he had died, but it was a long time ago and my memory isn't clear.

I do remember the funeral, in Bath. My father was buried in a cemetery in Bathwick and afterwards we went to my aunt's flat in the city. I remember  great anger and frustration because everyone was having a party, and my dad was dead. I know that the vicar came in to see my to try and explain that we were celebrating his life, not his death, but I don't really think I understood at 13 (and I was a young 13).

I never knew my father as an old man. He never knew me as an adult. There's a lot of grieving I still haven't done, there's a lot of things I wish I knew, I wish he'd known, but things are as they are. Life for my mother was not easy, and I had to grow up very quickly.

My brother must have had a hard time too, but it wasn't something we ever really spoke about. I wonder what his memories of that day, those times, are?

I wish I could end this piece on some great understanding, some words of wisdom, but the truth is I'm just thinking, and sometimes just writing is enough.

I remember my dad, I loved my dad, and I miss my dad.

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