I did try and write a different blog for this week, but it seemed a little flat as it wasn’t what I wanted to say. I tried to keep it unpersonal and it just wasn’t working for me, so I went hard the other way. As it’s been 1 year this week since my dad died I hope you’ll forgive me if I indulge in a bit of sentimentality today and tell you about some of the things I learned from him.
I learned it was ok to make mistakes. I remember when I had just passed my driving test I had a collision with another car (Renault Clio vs classic MG). I was absolutely devastated, it was entirely my fault and I was worried he’d be cross with me. Of course he wasn’t, he held me tight, was just pleased I wasn’t hurt (nor was the other driver) and he helped me sort everything out.
I learned that you should give things a go. Over his time dad had several different businesses and hair-brained schemes – some which worked out and some that didn’t. Back in the early 90s he planted a field of Quinoa (in Cumbria!) hoping to make some money selling the new and unusual grain. Of course he didn’t – he was 25 years too early to market with that one.
I learned to rest. Dad loved “resting his eyes” in front of a black and white war film on a Sunday afternoon. I have updated my choice of film but I tradition I have taken up and made my own.
I learned to laugh. Dads laugh really carried, you could hear it through the whole house. He could amuse himself (and us) for hours with silly songs and jokes.
I learned to write. Dad was a freelance copywriter for a number of years. He helped and encouraged me during my school years to improve my writing skills. He would be very proud that I am putting them to regular use.
I learned it’s never too late to start something new. Dad had already been diagnosed with Dementia when he decided to take up photography. His pictures are some of the most stunning I have seen and make up the majority of landscapes I have on display in my home.
I learned compassion, patience and care. When dad became poorly his obsessive behaviour and infatuation on certain tasks could be very frustrating to deal with, enough to make you scream some days. Having an understanding of this helped me support not only him, but Mum, who cared for him most of the time.
I learned the strength of family. This time last year, whilst Dad was dying, Mum was also in hospital having an operation. It was a terrible time, yet we always had each other. Family isn’t just the people you share DNA with, but all the people who choose to love you, to support you, to check in on you.
I learned that even the worst days are not all bad. On the day of Dad’s funeral we shared lovely memories, stories and laughs with close friends and family. You don’t get the wonder of a rainbow without a little rain.