Today, it's 30 years since we lost Dad, and it's the weirdest day. It seems like yesterday, and sometimes the grief of it sneaks up on you like you can't imagine.In 2013 I wrote a blog post about my dad and my love of reading. The post is at the end of this new post…
We recently reconnected with cousins, through the power of Facebook, and my oldest cousin recalls my dad in detail. My younger dad, the one who met my mum, fell in love, married, and had me and my sister. Just reconnecting like this makes me think a lot about Dad, about what he would think of the world today. When he died we were still in the middle of the Cold War, with the nuclear threat, and Frankie Goes To Hollywood talking about two tribes going to war. We were right in the middle of the AIDs crisis, and I was only 18.
We argued me and my dad. I guess, at 18, if he said the sky was blue I would be bound and determined to argue that it was pink because that is what a young adult does when they think they're old enough to know better. I'm saddest that we didn't get past that. In fact, the last thing we did was argue, because I was up late reading and I had my light on, and he didn't want me up that late. I don't ever think about that being the last time I spoke to him. I think about the barbecues and the holidays in caravans, at the fact he loved Sci-Fi, and the Space Shuttle, and planes, and dogs, and fudge, and that he was a really funny guy. And, mostly, that he loved my mum, and my sister, and me.
I regret he never met my husband or my children. He would have loved them all, although what the hell he would have thought about autism I have no idea. Nor the MM writing I do.
Like my dad I don't believe in a higher power, or a defined afterlife, but I do believe that all the time I am alive I carry his memory with me, and I make sure to tell Briony (my daughter) everything I can about her Grandad, because she needs to take his memory on with her when I'm not here.
So, Dad, thank you for the reading, and the love of sci-fi, and the fact I went grey at sixteen… I blame you for all of it.
Thank you. Love you.
And here is the original post:
My dad died in 1986. July 19th. His loss was sudden. He went to bed one night and we’d lost him by morning. I was 18, my sister 13, my mum younger than I am now. He is never far from my thoughts. He was the big reader in the family and I grew up with books always to hand. Every other week he would take me and my sister to the library in town. We would get through the door and I would turn left to the children’s area, he would turn right.
Now, this was an old-fashioned library with floor to near ceiling grand bookcases in a modern concrete building. In the grown up’s side, ‘my dad’s side’, there was hundreds, thousands, of books that I would look at with jealousy. Science Fiction was my dad’s favorite. He loved Star Trek, Blakes Seven, Doctor Who, and he took me to see Star Wars in 1977 (for me apparently, we could see right through that!)
I was happy over in the child’s section (non-wood, bright plastic!), I only had a child’s ticket but that was okay, I devoured Enid Blyton at a very young age, Willard Price, moved onto Narnia and by the time I was twelve I had more or less moved my way through every single book available in that fairly small area.
Then Dad said I could use one of his adult tickets. :O
OMG, I was a kid in a sweetshop. I could choose anything I wanted from the mysteries of the dark wood cabinets. I knew exactly what I wanted to read and where I wanted to start.
I picked up the first Tolkien book in the Ring trilogy and I fell in love. I probably didn’t understand half the intricacies of the story, but I do know I found the one thing I loved, Heroic Bromance ™. I fell in love with Sam’s love for Frodo, I fell in love with the fact both would sacrifice themselves for the journey and Sam for Frodo. I fell in love with Strider. I read all three books and I cried at the end of book 3. I was probably 13, just starting Senior School (UK version of High School). I have never re-read these books and I never will. They are a shining moment in my own journey to where I am today.
Those of you that read these rambling posts I sometimes make, know I love music and that music inspires my writing. A new song is out that has me thinking so much about Dad and what he may think of what I do.
However, I like to think he would look at my writing the same way my mum does (my mum who reads my books). I love to think that he would see I am writing what I love and would be proud of me.