Memories Of My Father

I wasn’t going to write about my dad because I wrote about him (very briefly) before and of course I did not write about my mother for Mother’s Day which makes me think I shouldn’t write then, about my father.

But I thought a lot of him again yesterday on Father’s Day and also because the World Cup is on and he was a HUGE soccer fan (Go Portugal!) and I miss those rare occasions we got to watch sports together.   Then I got thinking about how when he was in town and sober, he would drive us to the biggest bookstore in the city and demand we pick a book.

I loved the fact that even though he wasn’t a book reader he tried to instil in us a love of books and learning.

My sister gravitated towards the picture books.  Always has and always will (she has a massive collection of coffee table books) while I set about buying every English language tome I could get my small hands on.  I collected Dickens for example, long before I actually read any of his work.

 

EPSON MFP image

 

Photo of my dad at age 19 yrs.  One year before he married my mother.  I have very few photos of my dad and only one of him and me on my wedding day (a picture I am not ready to share because I was still very much sporting ’80s’ hair).   When I came across this photo of my dad among my late gran’s possessions I was immediately struck by how much BOTH my sons look like my father.   It makes Mr. decidedly uncomfortable knowing I have (really) strong genes 😀

I’m a lot like my dad.   I  get my love of travel and adventure from him for example just like I enjoy making people feel comfortable and welcome.

Dad started out in the hospitality industry and went on to manage several hotels which is why my sister and I would fly around the country to visit him.  But while he could be charming, funny and easygoing he was also an alcoholic and sometimes being around him was unbearable – at times impossible.

After I married we became estranged.  Long story.  He flitted from hotel to hotel (relationship to relationship, he was popular with the ladies) while I settled down to the kind of quiet and domestic life I had always craved.  I’m not sure I missed him really – how can you miss someone you barely know? Until one day he showed up and said he was possibly going through a midlife crisis and was changing careers (he had a great sense of humour) and wanted to live nearby.   He moved in with his mother and found work as a turner (machinist).

I worked at building a relationship with my father.  Started inviting him over for meals (he was an excellent cook) but his refusal to seek help for his addiction was the reason I kept my walls up.   Loving him was not enough for me or for him.  I wanted to respect him and he in turn needed me to respect him.  It was not going to happen, I pointed out, until he sought the treatment he so clearly needed.

When you’re young you think  time stretches out before you.  In my early thirties I convinced myself that time was on my side and your loved ones, will live forever .  My dad died suddenly and terribly at 59.  He was killed in a hit-and-run accident.

And I was left bereft.   I cannot write about my father without writing about loss.  About lost time and lost opportunities but something close to miraculous happened soon after his death.  I found it in me to forgive my mother for all the things she did not do or say because she didn’t know how.  I forgave her before it was too late.

 

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8 thoughts on “Memories Of My Father

  1. I so glad you wrote about your father, Yolanda. Such a heartfelt post…it’s beautiful. I’m sorry for the loss of your father, but I’m happy to hear you’ve made peace with your mother. Thank you for sharing this. xo

    • Thank you for your comment Andrea 🙂 yes, very difficult to write. My mother and I are great friends today which of course is why losing my dad so unexpectedly makes me sad. Have a great, wonder -full week!

  2. Oh, Yolanda this post left me a bit misty. I thought my father’s loss was unexpected (complications from knee surgery), but a hit-and-run accident is so shocking. I’m glad you have had the opportunity to move closer to your mother in forgiveness and to understand her life xxxx

    • sorry for your loss Dianne xxx We never get ‘over’ losing a loved one do we?
      My dad was not only killed by a drunk driver (irony?) but also by someone he actually knew (golfing buddy) so you can imagine how this impacted our family. It was a terrible tragedy on many levels for so many people.

  3. Oh Gosh Yolanda, such a terrible tragedy from what I read in the above comment. I’m so sorry for your loss, and how brave of you to share your story here. I’m glad to hear this experience brought you closer to your mom. Life is too short to linger in blame or regret.

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