The 26th candle

Dear Dad,

You died today.

It doesn’t matter that it was in 1986; and although the raw pain has gone, I do and probably will forever get a pang of misery and regret when this day comes and I will, as I have done every year without fail, light a candle for you in a church.

That was a difficult year, such a difficult year. When your only sibling died that February, the pain etched on your face at his death was heartbreaking. You had that stunned look of disbelief and you must have thought about all those wasted years when you did not have much contact with each other due to stupid, stupid family nonsense.

His dying was the final straw; the catalyst that set in motion the countdown to you dying nearly eight weeks later.  There is never a good thing you can say about family dying but these events did bring our families closer, much closer than we had ever been when growing up.

Yours was the first dead body I had ever seen and even though I did not want to see you lying in your coffin, I was curious and you looked so peaceful; sleeping the permanent sleep.  When I bent to kiss your forehead, it came as a shock at how hard and cold your head was. Daft really, I mean, what did I expect? You looked so smart in your suit, and on the day of your funeral, when we were saying our last goodbyes, I placed the poem I wrote for you in your breast pocket next to K’s Star of David.

The turn out for your funeral was huge, not surprising really as you had met so many people during your life.  All your friends from the golf club, non golf friends and old family friends that you were still in touch with, professional acquaintances, the staff and Directors from your factory. And of course, most importantly, your family.  I sat and cried through the whole thing and could not sing Jerusalem, even though it was a favourite of yours.

The golf club you belonged to had its flag at half mast – mind you, you collapsing and dying whilst playing a round of golf must have shaken them up somewhat, bloody good job you were winning by the way!

It would have been nice however, if alot of those who professed to like you and Mum, had bothered to stay in touch with her after you died. She was dropped like a hot potato by so many who had greedily enjoyed her wonderful cooking and hospitality over the years, but then shunned her so quickly after your death. That hurt her very much Dad, and I often wonder how I would feel or if I would say anything to them if I met them again.

I know I was not easiest person to live with when I was growing up.  I had alot of the usual teenage shit to deal with and I truly believe that you saw alot of yourself in me so tried to curtail those more spontaneous outbursts.  Ah Dad, if only you knew the half of it, how sometimes you didn’t make it easy for me and I suffered at your words and actions.  But you know what?  I was not bad; I was confused and angry and I didn’t know why, I do now.

I wish that I could share with you all that I have discovered about your parents, particularly Granddad.  He hardly ever talked about his family so you did not know much and I have discovered such alot!  Did you know he was one of 10 children, and one of his brothers did not come home from the Somme?  I know that would have interested you and that you would have gone to Thiepval to pay your respects. K and I will do that one day, I promise.  I know that you always said that you had Polish ancestors through Nan’s family, but did you know that you also had German and Dutch?  K and I walked their London streets last summer and tried to imagine what it would have been like in their day.  Oh, by the way, the building where Nan was born still exists.

I got used to your absence a long time ago, and that was something I never thought would happen.  You were not perfect, you had many faults and it was not always easy having you as my Dad, but know that I loved you, still love you and have never forgotten you.

You always liked my poems Dad, and I wrote this for your funeral:

IN MEMORIUM

When death was one,
Your grief was great.
You pondered memories of your London past.

When death was two,
Your sorrow true.
Your feelings though, were sweet relief.

When death was three,
No words expressed
The silent tears wrenched from within.

Now death is four.
We bear the scars, our grief immense, our sorrow true.
We gather the ashes you leave behind and pick up our hearts as you want us to.

Several years later, when I was sorting my head out, many things became clear to me about myself and I wrote this by way of an apology:

DAD

You died too young,
I was not there
To rush into your open arms.
Tell you that I care.

My growing years were fraught with pain,
Could never find the love inside,
Display it as I ought.
I am that fool with much to hide.

I find the words you wrote to me,
Cannot stop the falling tears.
Reading them turns back the clock
Of how I wasted many years.

I light a candle every year,
Assuage my guilt, lest I forget
That you meant everything to me,
And I miss you yet.

I still love you very much,
This message is belated.
I was stupid then, but know I know,
It was never you, but me I hated.

Love M-A xx

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Goodbye 2011

So, there are only a few hours left until 2011 wanders off into the sunset for good.

This is always a time of reflection for me as I look back at the waning year and the events that have happened, especially as this year has been an up and down one for me for various reasons and for many other people I know. Some have suffered more than others and some are still suffering and will take their pain into 2012.

Despite that, I always have a spark of optimism that the new year will provide better opportunities for me, that my family and friends will be happy and healthy and not have any traumas to deal with. On the downside, a stupid part of me has that spark of sadness that the old year has not proven itself to be what I had hoped and set it up to be.

The main amazing thing for me was joining Twitter as I have met some fabaroonie people through it, both in person and on the timelines. You lot are a wonderful bunch, but then you know that don’t you… *wanders off muttering about them being a right bunch of conceited so and so’s…*

Also, getting this blog off the ground is another achievement I am proud of. I enjoy writing it (even the sad ones as to me, they are a form of therapy) and I hope that people enjoy reading it.

However, I want to get serious for a moment and say that it never ceases to amaze me how easily humans can hurt those they love; I have done it and had it done to me on many occasions over the years. We tell ourselves that we didn’t mean to do it but we say and do things that show otherwise. We are insensitive to the other persons pain and we flaunt our new-found freedom with gay abandon ignoring what is happening to the one we leave behind. It is not really a good way to behave and does not show us in a good light but it is what we do. Look at yourselves if you have done this and know that there is someone who is hurting deeply and you have to own some of that pain if you are the cause of it. Know that they invested alot of time and energy into being with you; don’t be callous now that you are no longer with them. Be aware that they are grieving and need a bit of sensitivity from you to get over the initial hurdles of hurt, because hormones/emotions are a rancid collection of chemicals that can be the ultimate high when all is well, but are a living hell when not.

So, moving on from that, as midnight approaches, I always tell myself that next year, I will be a better person, I will try my best not to cause pain and say and do things that hurt those that I love. I will try to be a better daughter, sister, and friend to those around me. I will try not to dislike me and not be so negative about myself and accept that I am me, I am valuable and I have as much right to walk this earth as anyone else. I will try to think before I speak (yes, I might have a bit of trouble with this one, but I will try!) and not worry if our opinions differ.

Let us all try to be more caring towards each other, let us remember those that are more vulnerable than we are, remember those who feel that they have nowhere to turn to and offer that helping hand to them. Let them know that they are not alone. Let us be optimistic that 2012 will be OUR year and that we will feel happier and healthier throughout.

All that remains for me to say is that I want to wish you all a wonderful and Happy New Year, I want the best for you all and to those of you that I have met through Twitter, I value your friendships and look forward to lots more fun get togethers with you! Those I have not met, well 2012 can be the year where we try to rectify that. Those of you who are suffering, I wish you peace and serenity and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that you WILL get there.

Raise your glasses everybody…

Love, Bint xx

Note to self: when writing a blog in the early morning in your nightie, best to cover your legs as I am sure the people opposite didn’t want to see up my you-know-what at this time of day…