Father’s Day was something of a bittersweet occasion for me this year since my own Father passed away in November last year (2011). At the time I posted on my Facebook timeline that he was “the best Father that anyone could have hoped for”. He was always around and very committed to his family and, after my Mother died (in 1988), to my Stepmother and her family. I know that it was something of frustration to him that I spent most of my late twenties and early thirties as a student (for about ten years by the time I’d finished), but his support for me was always steadfast, once saying to me: “Whatever you want to do with your life I will support you”. He did not mean financial support but a moral and loving support which, to me, was priceless. I’m sure that this was not an easy thing for him to say, but it was an extraordinarily liberating thing for me to hear; giving me a real sense of freedom and ultimately helping me take risks which, in the long run, paid off.
Having children of my own has brought me many things, but perhaps the most important has been coming to realise what it means to be a parent, and in turn to appreciate what my parents went through: what they gave up and the extent of that unconditional love that only parents can have. Sadly I was never able to fully appreciate this before my mother died, but it means a lot to me that I was able to say ‘thank you’ to my Father. And I said a quiet thank you to him again this Father’s Day.
I still miss Dad. I miss ringing him up and telling him what the boys have been up to, and sharing a joke on the latest frustration of modern life (he loved stories about administrative ineptitude); and there is rarely a day goes by that I don’t think of him. It was important to me that he was part of this blog since he was so influential in many of the things that I have to say. That is why his memory is enshrined in the picture on the masthead, which is taken from the spot where we scattered his ashes on Derwentwater in the Lake District, Northern England earlier this year.
As you can see it really is a beautiful spot and I hope that it gives him the freedom that he so selflessly gave me.