Though my dad is sadly no longer with us and I talk about losing him and the hurt, I am more than aware and grateful to have had at least had a present dad for 29 years of my life.
Grief is such a weird emotion. Although I’ve mentioned it countless times before, even recording a Youtube video about it, I still struggle to articulate it. It’s an emotion that affects us all differently. I do, however, believe that the saying of ‘dying inside’ is the truest representation.
Time is by no means a healer and I actually despise that saying so much. Yes, your life goes on and it is what you make it, but, your life, past, and future is also a constant reminder. Things just become a bit of a time and mind consumer.
People would say to me, ‘oh, well at least you have your children to keep you occupied’. Which is true. They are very occupying! However, they are also a constant and daily reminder of having what I don’t have: a present mum and dad. But also that they are missing out on having grandparents.
I wanted, though, to share some things my dad taught me, in the sense of both teaching practically and also through being the man he was, as well as memories I have. I mentioned in a post I wrote about the things my mum has missed that a mother-daughter bond is like no other, which is true, however, a father-daughter bond has it’s own depth too.
Independence Through Driving.
He was quite persistent that I would learn to drive. I’m sure it was because he was sick of being my chauffeur. (see below point!) I remember on my seventeenth birthday there being an envelope amongst my few cards and gifts and it was the paperwork to apply for a provisional! I’m not sure why it took me so long to get onboard with driving, as I enjoyed being in a car, plus both my parents rode and raced motorcycles and I’d grown up watching motor-racing on the TV and at tracks. However once I had that confidence and in time passed my test, I can’t think of any better feeling than jumping in the car and driving. I love it.
It truly blows my mind that this type of thing isn’t compulsory on driving tests by now. My annoyance of peoples stupidity and naivety in regards to the maintenance of vehicles they were in control of hit it’s peak throughout my time working at car dealerships. I understand that not everyone would have a family member able to teach such life skills, which is why I think it should be part of learning to drive. Thankfully my dad, being the motorhead he was, not only taught me to drive but also how to change a wheel and check my oil.
Love of Drawing.
Especially houses. My dad was an architect. I remember him first teaching me how to draw a house, in a more 3d aspect. From that moment that’s all I drew. I used to draw houses with ‘extensions’. I by no means could draw as well as an architect and could never be one as my maths knowledge and interest is poor, to say the least, but, I enjoyed drawing.
Both my parents’ careers were quite demanding and required travelling to as well as late nights, more so for my mum. I was put into childcare from around six months old, which, once hitting school age meant I was dropped at childminders and they would take me to school and pick me up again. Childcare is expensive, so in school holidays I’d spend some time with my grandparents, but after they both passed away and I was a bit older, my parents would take me to work with them both – calling it work experience! This resulted in me basically being a receptionist at each workplace! I quite enjoyed it though. It was both work and life experience, looking back and I have many great memories of time spent with them both.
Knowledge and Interest In Many Sports.
My parents weren’t sporty to say the least. My dad would tell me of his many sporting achievements as a young lad, but he wasn’t one to have continued anything into later life. He had his love of motorcycles and was a proud part of the Toon Army. But they always allowed me to experience many sports and things I took an interest in. My dad helped me to learn to ride my bicycle and that was part of living out in the countryside. You’d bike to friends houses and going for bike rides. It was the done thing. Most people had a bike. I took up ballet and gymnastics as a young girl. My dad actually helped out at my first gymnastic club. I was also part of my schools girls football team. I also gained an interest in following sports from watching TV with my dad. The athletics, especially the track races were my favourites. I still enjoy watching now.
Love Of Singing And Appreciation Of Music.
As a child, dad attended the Chorister School in Durham on a boarding basis. Although he changed his views on religion as an adult, his love of singing and music from his school days stayed with him and subsequently passed onto me. He encouraged me to try different instruments, such as the keyboard, guitar, recorder, flute and saxophone. As well as building my confidence in singing. So much so that we actually dueted at the local pub at their weekly folk nights one time. I know. Rock N Roll! I like to think I have quite a varied knowledge and love of music. My granddad was a jazz man and a bit of Chris Rea if I remember rightly. Dad was a skiffle lover. He liked Queen and other genres, but, it was skiffle he enjoyed the most. And I didn’t mind it. Although I love pop and RnB, I feel just at home listening to likes of Motown.
As I mentioned above, one of the reasons I believe dad to have been so pushy in getting me driving will have been so he could hang up the car keys himself. Living out of town means you rely heavily on transport and added that my secondary school was in town meant that most of my friends lived in town. So ultimately, my dad or sometimes mum, became my taxi driver to friends houses or to drop me off at the shops to meet friends on a weekend so we could go buy our Heather Shimmer lipstick and try on all the new clothes in Tammy Girl.
I’m sure I could write much much much more, but those are things that spring to mind and really conjure up many memories. Having lost my parents it’s made me very aware of the impact of memories and more so since having children of my own. Some material things may harbour memories, but most of my memories are from practical experiences and that’s something I want to pass onto my children.