My dad’s death changed my life.
I had learned to live with his depression and alcoholism, but I am still struggling to learn to live without him. The memory I am clinging onto right now is Christmas 2005, the last time I really spent time with him, and the last Christmas my family shared with him. He didn’t drink the whole time, and it was wonderful. The last memory I have of him alive and well is sharing a taxi as I went to the airport to return to London. He could only go so long without drinking, and got out to go to the off-licence, paid for my taxi, and kissed me goodbye. I didn’t see him again until the last hours of his life.
He could be aggressive, angry, amazingly self pitying, violent, abusive, embarrassing, hilarious, political, sensitive, proud, loving, mad, silly. He was a deeply flawed, wonderful person.
I’m reading over old journal entries, starting from when my dad was admitted to hospital and ending the week after he died. That whole period lasted just over a month.
Masochistic, yes. But oddly comforting because he was still there, and for a while, I had dreadful hope. Sometimes I wonder how we actually got through that time as it was the most heartbreaking situation I’ve ever experienced, and I’m certain it was the same for my family. It is also reminding me how great my friends were when he was in hospital and of how brilliantly my family dealt with it. It was the one time my mum cut out her bullshit, and my big sister Paula, who was in hospital with him the most, was amazingly strong. Even my dad dealt with it with his customary cantankerous humour.
I found some photos I took on my camera phone on the day of his funeral. In the PD (a pub) afterwards. Actually having an alright time. They put on a spread for us, for free, like they did when my granda died a few months before.
This is me- I had been plastered in make up that morning, and cried it all off.
Paula and her friend Adeline who came after the funeral:
Another of my sisters, Michelle:
I’m going to put the entries here, unedited, for the benefit of people who have been in that similar, not knowing what to believe or think situation. I’m also going to put normal entries here, that don’t mention him much, because that Life Goes On. I also want to put this here for my own bizarre reasons in that I like stamping my dad all over the world, no matter which way. It will be a very long entry.
If any of you manage to read this whole entry I will give you a prize.
What surprises me, but also doesn’t, is that a lot of the entries I wrote in that time were happy and hopeful because it was generally a nice time in my life, before it all kicked off. I liked my job, had a beautiful boyfriend and things, usual brain weirdness aside, were good. It wasn’t until the very end that I began to really believe I was going to lose my dad. The further down I read, the more I remember what that time felt like.
People ask me why I am so explicit and forthcoming with things like this. I don’t want my dad to be forgotten. And I blog like this because I want the stuff we went through to mean something, even if it’s just one person in the world who felt the same.
Anyway, click below.