My father passed away when I was 13. He is never far from my thoughts so I wanted to write a post about him because of how much he means to me.
They say “actions speak louder than words”. Well, I can’t say I remember my Dad actually saying “I love you” but I know he did through the memories I hold. Little did I know how precious these memories would become. I thought I’d share some of them here.
In the mid-late 80s there was a luna eclipse. At this point I would’ve been about 8 or 9 years’ old. I remember setting my alarm for early in the morning, I think it might have been about 3am, which isn’t something that children are known to do! Early morning rises were something reserved for holidays or Christmas morning! I came downstairs and sat in the kitchen doorway looking out into the back garden to watch the luna eclipse. My Dad was already out there. I can’t remember what we talked about but the fact that we shared those sorts of moments together, for me, says a lot about our relationship.
My Mum said that my Dad believed there to be ‘a force’ out there greater than ourselves. I wish he’d been alive today as I’d loved to have had such conversations with him about this, especially given the spiritual journey I’m on at the moment.
Not long after I started playing the piano, when I was 12, my Dad wanted to show me how to follow music. He had taught himself the flute, violin, and trombone, although I think he’d given up on the latter two and stuck with the flute! He had a music manuscript for a harpsichord piece which he also had on a record. We were sat in our front reception room, him playing the record (loudly as I remember!), with me following the recording from the sheet music.
My Dad also had sheet music for piano and flute duets. He said when I got better at the piano we could play the duets together. Sadly, I was still early on in my lessons when he passed away, but the fact that he said this to me meant the world.
On another occasion, I remember that Status Quo (remember them??) were playing a concert which was being shown on TV. It was late at night and my older brother and I stayed up with my Dad to watch the concert, dancing around the living room. He had even bought us plastic guitars to ‘play along’ with the band. At such a young age it felt really cool to be staying up so late! We then slept downstairs with my Dad in the fold-out beds we had.
As I recall, my Dad liked listening to music at one volume – loud! I whole-heatedly support this view and will regularly crank up the volume, especially in the car.
I used to go to a children’s club on a Thursday evening at the local chapel. I remember that my Dad would sometimes walk me there and pick me up again, if he was home from work. He was an architectural assistant so worked on building sites. This meant he would come down to pick me up wearing these sandy-coloured wellington-like boots which no doubt had reinforced toes! Him holding my hand and walking me home was the inspiration for me buying the painting below. It reminds me of those times 🙂
Driving is something I love. I also love going on long train journeys and listening to my MP3 player while getting lost in my thoughts. I think the love of these things came from the times I used to go out in the car with my Dad to various places, just me and him. I remember one time we were going to a DIY store and my Dad was playing Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits on the tape-deck in the car. I liked the song so much I kept asking him to rewind it and play it back, which he found amusing.
There are very few photos of my Dad, because he was the one taking all the pictures! He was a keen amateur photographer and even got me my own camera at one stage, perhaps in the hope that it would ignite my interest. There are hundreds of photos of us which capture many happy memories. Even though my Dad is not in them, he shared those times with us.
My Dad obviously felt that telling the truth was important, although he may not have realised sometimes how the truth may impact on people, but I believe it was done with the view that telling the truth was better than trying to protect people’s feelings.
When I was about 8 years’ old I asked him if Santa Claus existed and without hesitation he told me “no”. I ran off crying, but to be honest I’d had some suspicions which is probably why I asked the question in the first place! My Mum was angry with him saying “She didn’t want to know!”, and my Dad replied “But she asked!”.
I’m glad he told me the truth. Although it hurt a bit at the time, it was much easier to process it and move on. ‘The truth’ is something which is really important to me. I feel very passionate that it’s better to be truthful than lie, even if the lie is told in an attempt to protect others. This has happened to me later in life and it’s done more damage than good. I’m grateful to my Dad for instilling this value into me.
So, thank you, Dad, for the precious memories that I can look back on; they fill me heart with so much love. Thank you for the love you gave me, and the enthusiasm you showed for the things that interested you. It has inspired me throughout my life to go after the things that I’m passionate about.
I’ll be playing Sultans of Swing at high volume, just for you 🙂