Father’s day

I miss my father. Eighteen months after his death the wound is still there, deep. I won’t see him again or share our little jokes together or share our acerbic comments on politics or neighbours. It wasn’t always kind but always very funny and we shared so many laughs. We truly made each other laugh a lot when we were together. And we had ourselves a bottle of wine for every lunch when i was visiting and then we would have a nap, him laying on the sofa and me sitting on an armchair with my feet on the coffee table.
The last years of his life he suffered from dementia. Didn’t remember any of us. He was an unhappy dementia sufferer. He looked as he was constantly trying so hard and harder still to remember what can’t have been deeply buried in those brain cells which had let him down. Left him bereft and isolated on a lonely island with no before, no after and certainly no today.
Even the moment in which he lived, he wasn’t there with us. He was on a quest of remembering and a lot of the time he seemed to remember only the bad bits. Being buried under the rubble in post war Europe for three days aged fifteen with just a couple of strangers.
Or when he was eight and his family moved from a place he loved and was at home and felt safe to a new build house close to the village school and his best mate living next door but it never became his home just a place he lived.
He never made his and was always a stranger in that house with all the mod cons and loving parents and a mischievous sister but he left as soon as he could. Remembering bits of a marriage which with the routine of the every day had become stale with lots of shouting or cold and heavy silences and then the family breaking up. The children grew up and left one after the other.
On this year’s father day, i realise that i was the closest to him. We were quite similar. Had lots in common, words, ideas. We spoke to each other without speaking. But I notice that i am the one who left as soon as was possible and moved the furthest away from him. Went visiting with the grand children as often as i could travel half way across Europe with two small children and then the visits became fewer and fewer especially the last few years before his death the visits needed excuses as birthdays or family get togethers. Dementia was my excuse.
Stopping for a visit and being greeted as a complete stranger by a complete stranger who thanked me profusely for having brought his favorite chocolate and cakes. Just as i knew him enough to know what he liked and enjoyed and to do it just right for him. And it made him so happy.
He asked about my life then he wanted to know who i was visiting and wasn’t it time to pop in with the people i had really come to see before i entered the wrong door and visited with him.
I send him weekly post cards with our news. I knew the nurse would take the time to read the cards to him and talk about me and my news and the grand children. It made him happy and he listened to stories of what by then for him were complete strangers and i was sitting at home crying after having send another of my cards into the void that had become my relationship with my father. I was a daughter to a father who didn’t remember that he had a daughter.