I have been lucky. I have not lost anybody close to me in the pandemic. I have written poems in tribute to Captain Tom and others who have inspired. It is such a tough time to lose someone. It is always tough but restrictions on meeting people make it harder to share grief.
It would have been my Dad’s 91st Birthday on the Saturday of the weekend just gone. and although he passed away 27 years ago, I still wanted to give him my best wishes. Before I go any further, I just want to forewarn you that my maudlin has been misplaced and left behind ineffable calm. This is not a sad blog.
I have just used a measuring tape that was his. Dad. Many of the tools I have belonged to him and he is with me when I use them. Although he is possibly shaking his head at my lack of DIY skills. Sometimes less DIWHY and more DIWTF. Possessions give him a physical place in my life but there is much more to it than that. He is still with me and he is still part of me. Memories are not just past events that I can rewind and play as though they are repeats on TV. They form part of who I am.
This was harder to see at an earlier age. It was easier then to just focus on the differences such as bigoted views he learned from his surroundings. I am a Diversity and Inclusion Representative as part of my employment duties but the first time in my life I felt a passion for this was in my teenage years as I argued with my Dad often to little avail.
When I think about him I think about how hard he worked to support his family. The small times in his life when he was unemployed were an anathema to him. As a family man he was the real deal. Loving, caring and hard working. I always felt he related to my brother more another practical man but I know he had immense pride when I graduated from Portsmouth with a Physics. Degree.
The toughest times for him were when he was unable to work due to heart problems. At other times when he was unemployed, he could do some work on the house or garden etc but the restrictions led him to spend a lot of time inactive. He was a little compulsive and I found his repositioning of items others had just touched maddening. At that time, I felt mortified every time one of my fellow classmates sang the line “just another burden on the welfare state,” at me. This was a line from a song by the Specials. My Mum still worked and as a family we were not anyone’s burden.
I have often recognised I shared qualities with my Mum but, actually some of them such as kindness I shared with them both. I am now the family man and my family comes before everything and despite the challenges it sometimes brings, it comes complete with the greatest rewards.
I am sorry if you have lost someone who was a large part of your life. I know that words offer little comfort, but those who were close to us stay with us not just as memories but part of who we are.
A couple of days ago I took my Dad some daffodils and said Happy Birthday. It has been several years but I think I finally realised what he meant to me