So today is Father's day and is the 6th one that I have been without my father to send a card to. When he died in 2008 it was Father's Day a couple of weeks after and then what would have been his 70th birthday another couple of weeks after that. I am struggling today. Not because I want to send him a card and aftershave, just because I would really like to speak to him again and just hear his voice.
The cynical cow in me thinks that days like today and mother's day are just another reason for us to shove our hands in our pockets and spend money we don't have on cheap tat where we should infact show those that we love and respect the same adoration every day of the year. But hey, I'm only human so I'm also a sucker for a special day and am feeling a little wobbly so bear with me please, I would like to write about him.
My Dad was called Adam and was a big tall fella. He was given the not particularly original name of 'Big Adam' in Alnwick , or if you speak proper Northumbrian , 'Big Edam' where the 'e' is pronounced 'eh' and not 'ee'. My Dad was not a large piece of Dutch cheese.
He was very well known, he was a hard worker, he liked to drink ( a lot ) and he had quite a temper at the best of times, but he was still my dad.
To say we had our moments is an understatement - we could fight like cat and dog and it's only now that I am older and a little bit wiser that I acknowledge that this is because we were very alike.
He could be the life and soul of any party but relished his alone times too.
He knew every nook and cranny of the town I grew up in and when he died, along with my grief, the realisation dawned that I had lost a huge part of me and my roots.
Who would I phone up to ask the name of a street or person that had suddenly sprung to mind and that I knew only he could remember?
Who would always without a shadow of a doubt have my back?
Who would be the only Dad I ever had?
I laugh now at some of the phone calls we used to have. If he ever rang me and started the conversation with ''you remember old Jimmy that lived next door?'' then I just knew that Old Jimmy was a goner. If I didn't remember Old Jimmy then my Dad would get exasperated and would say things like ''but he gave you 20 pence for sweets when you were ten'' or something like that.
Despite being a working class northern man, my Dad was also quite cool. My mother read ( and probably still does read ) The Daily Mail and would often come out with statements like ''all lesbians wear dungarees'' but my Dad read The Mirror and if he felt any serious bigotted right wing tendencies then he certainly never made them known to me. I did go out with a Jewish lad once and he wasn't over happy as there were plenty of canny catholics that I could have met, but apart from that one sentence and a bit of tight lipped silence then no more was said on the matter.
My parents were never happy together yet stayed together and when my mother finally left ( I was 29 ) that was when Dad and I became closer. I felt a fierce loyalty to him and that lasted until he died 12 years later. It was an emotional time and as we were nearly 500 miles apart it wasn't easy but it did change the dynamics of 'us'. It was a sad time but good came from it.
And on to the afterlife question? I personally do believe that when we die our spirits go elsewhere - am not sure exactly where but it's an optimistic attitude. I went to see a medium once that claimed my Dad was there in the room next to her. I got all weepy ( naturally ) and in my heart I wanted so much to believe her, but if my Dad had been there then he would have stubbornly kept quiet and would be cross that I had wasted a tenner of my inheritance on such mumbo jumbo.
So all I am really trying to say is this -
Dad, whether you're up there, or down there, or floating around in trees or you've come back as a pigeon or a prince or whatever, Happy Father's Day....
From your bairn xxxxxxxxxxxxxx