Apparently today, 15th November, is ‘I love to write day’? No idea who, where, what or why that is, but the date is significant to me as it’s my Dad’s birthday – he would have turned 71. So in honour of the day, I’m going to write briefly about him.
Above is my recent sketch from a favourite photo of him taken on my wedding day in 1994, he is embracing me as I leave to go away on honeymoon (I didn’t include myself in the sketch as it’s the back of my head and big wedding hairdos are hard to draw). I love this photograph but it’s a bitter reminder of how much I have missed his hugs for the past seventeen years.
The physicality of loss is the most difficult aspect to come to terms with after a death. He was a quiet man but I miss everything about his presence. Apart from his face, I remember and miss his hands too, broad stubby fingers, square nails – piano playing surgeon’s gentle hands.
I miss his smell, he worked in hospitals for most of my life and always came home with a faint scent of disinfectant overlaying his aftershave and warm daddy smell. We used to complain about that but I miss it now.
I miss the soft creak of his laugh, and the crinkle of the wrinkles around his eyes. He was quick witted and very funny at times, especially when he was together with his friends. We used to tease him a lot as he was able to laugh at himself. I’d love to tell him I’m sorry now for teasing him those times that bordered on being unkind.
I miss listening to him playing Chopin and others on the piano. Listening to classical music brings me closer to him, in particular piano music. So here’s a link to the beautifully emotive Rachmaninoff you can lose yourself in, the Piano Concerto No.2 in Cm Op.18 – II. Adagio sostenuto reduces me to tears. 🙁
I miss not being able to talk about our common interests which, apart from the piano also included singing, ballet, art, books and travel. One of my special memories is singing together in the chorus for a production of Handel’s Messiah. We have similar temperaments, noses, eyes and we both could raise one eyebrow. He never met any of my children and I know he’d love to share in all their small achievements. They have all inherited different things from him so I see him through them now.
My greatest sadness is I feel my time with him was too short. He was only 53 and I was 28 when he died but apart from that he wasn’t at home much when we were growing up because he worked very long hours. However I always felt very loved by him, I was convinced when I was small that I was his favourite. There is plenty I would love to talk about to him, ask him, things I’d have liked to have told him before he died.
Of course there’s not much I can do now about my regrets, except perhaps to learn from them and build positive changes into the future with my own husband and children – to take the time to be with them and tell them how special they are to me.
Happy birthday Daddy, I miss you and love you.