It would have been your birthday today, you would have been 78. You also died 11 weeks ago tomorrow. I partly started this blog to help me deal with the grief at losing you and so far you have been the focus of several letters:
- Dear International Spy dad
- Dear Ghost Dad
- Dear Tramp in the Street
- Dear Grief
- You even had me planning my own Funeral.
This is the letter I meant to write to you all my life, the one that I never did because we always thought we had more time together, then it was the one I wanted to write to you to go into your coffin, but again there was no time. I regret that.
I’m so so sad that the day you died was the day you were supposed to be staying and helping me with Omble and Oddler as it was LordCurd’s first day back at work and Omble was getting her tongue tie snipped. It would have been the first time you met her but I had cancelled the visit as we couldn’t cope with you and bro as houseguests as we were so sleep deprived and had found it a bit of a struggle with Mum staying the week before in our tiny house. I am so sad that you never got to meet Omble but I know you doted on her and showed everyone her pictures. I’m glad that I took her to meet you in the Chapel of Rest. It helps knowing that one time you were together in the same room even though when I saw you lying there I finally realised you were gone. You didn’t look sleeping as mum said- you looked very much dead. I don’t want to remember you like that but it still has been incredibly comforting that I brought Omble to you that day. I would have still been regretting and upset about it otherwise.
One of my earliest memories is of you meeting me at the door of yours and mums bedroom and saying I couldn’t go in because mummy was sleeping. She had just had my baby brother. You were a stay at home dad so you did all the school runs (although often forgot to pick us up as your car clock would often be set to french time since you were there so often!). You were a terrible cook though- sausage and tomato ketchup sandwiches in our lunchboxes. Boak, and your M&M pancakes which were half a cm thick! Oh dear!
I remember once being incredibly embarrassed because you came to pick us up dressed head to toe in pink. You had had a washing machine disaster and your white sunhat, shirt, jeans (white jeans dad- seriously- not something I ever remember seeing but you defo had pink trousers that day!?) were all pink and you were wearing your white wellies (which were white anyway as you had discovered operating theatre/slaughterhouse wellies to be cheaper than normal wellies and you loved a bargain). We were so embarrassed. You just laughed.
I also remember the stories you used to tell us, the Mars Bar Factory to keep us going on long walks (two Mars bars hidden in a hut at the end of the walk on the moor- still not sure how you got them there!); Esmeralda and Griselda the two witches on our holidays in France who used to write us letters in the font of the church; The magic door unlocking light up yoyo (we were locked out of our hotel room til you got me to use my magic yoyo and it worked!) ; The dragon lines (motorway crash barriers) that if we spoke or made a noise at all on the motorway the dragon would come and gobble us up! (Haha cunning- I may use that one myself). You made our childhood so magical and wonderful.
You could be a meanie and a grump sometimes with quite a cruel sense of humour. I remember sitting on the edge of a water bath in a field on holiday once and you sodding well chucked me in! Unfortunately you hadn’t realised it was full of stinging nettles and I still don’t think I have forgiven you! Mum was also livid at you. I think you felt really bad after, you could just be quite childish sometimes and not think about the consequences to your actions- Tsk! Oh and the time I saw a lame duck and wanted to take it to the vets but you wouldn’t let me and then kept making duck soup jokes all the way home- humph. I was a vegetarian for a whole 24 hours after that until I forgot when you brought me a sausage roll- how you laughed.
I never ever saw you cry, because you were always the strong silent type really, although I remember two occasions when mum told me you had, once when your mum died, and once when we thought I had cancer because of the lump in my bones which turned out to be a bone infection. I never saw those emotions but knowing from mum you had them made me feel closer to you.
You most surprised me when I was going through typical teenage struggles with sexual identity. You were the one who sat me down and told me “LadyCurd- no matter what you are I will always love you”, (meanwhile my ultra liberal mother was completely freaking out). This was the best and kindest thing you ever did for me, and I was so surprised because you just weren’t really someone to talk about stuff like that too. I loved you so much for saying that too me and making me feel accepted no matter what.
You supported me so much with my education and career, encouraged me and inspired me to succeed. You also would sometimes try and control some of my academic or other life choices by financial incentives but I got wise to that and ultimately we got to a point of muddling along without you trying to interfere too much, and I know you only did it because you cared and you wanted what was best for me. You did a lot for me and I relied on you so much (as did mum and bro) so you have left a massive massive hole now you have gone- we don’t just miss you terribly but we are not entirely sure how to sort the finances, or check the coolant on the car or sort the buildings insurance etc etc. & although I am a lot more independent than my mum I have realised that I am often too dependent on LordCurd and I want to fix that so I can be as savvy as you were about things. I know you were incredibly proud of me when I independently oversaw our house renovations and were impressed with everything I had done and I think I probably have got the property bug from you so you never know I may start my own monopoly game one day. Hurrah.
I know I could wind you up with going on about my pregnancy worries and niggles (but likewise you drove me mad when I hadn’t felt Omble move in 24hours and you were staying and were going to take me to hospital but then decided to do the washing up first so LordCurd wouldn’t find the house a mess- LordCurd being slightly more worried about the baby than the washing up! ARGH!) but I also know how impressed you were with how I dealt with the immediate aftermath of Oddler being in intensive care and suspected brain damaged. I think you were amazed how calm and positive I was considering and although I had a wobble with PTSD afterwards we ultimately got through it and I know you were proud of me during that horrible time.
We used to tease you, call you Del Boy, Compo, Steptoe, Pa Larkin, Greengrass but most of all we called you Fantastic Mr Fox. It’s true you were. The best thing about you dad was that no-matter what you were always there for me, I could always count on you in a crisis. When I phoned you in tears one day from university you would have been there the next day (5hour drive) but ultimately you didn’t need to. You would do anything for anyone and we miss you so so much. You were incredibly strong throughout Bro’s long ongoing fight with schizophrenia, caring for him, holding mum together as well as shielding me from the worst of it (although I didn’t want to be shielded)
I said the other day of all my letters I have written in this blog there are only three people I want to write back. James McAvoy, Dr Who ( 😉 ) and you. But most of all you. Sadly none of you will ever write back. I miss you everyday and think of you always. Thankyou for being my dad, it’s funny I once said to mum once you’d wound me up once too often “I wish dad wasn’t my dad” and mum just said “don’t be daft if he wasn’t you wouldn’t be you”. It’s true. Thankyou for making me me.
Happy Birthday Dad
I love you.
P.S Not sure I believe in Heaven but it is comforting to think of you about somewhere with other people we’ve lost. Hope you have been reunited with your parents (Grandpa who I never got to meet) and brothers (Simon who died as a baby and Peter who died a few years ago), I hope you have seen Mum’s parents and Grandma isn’t the shell she was when she died and that Grandpa is still as wonderful as he ever was. I hope you are hanging out with Joe, your best friend and the man who was practically another grandpa to us growing up. I even kind of hope the babies that never made it get to meet you.
P.P.S In my phone the house phone is down as Mum and Dad- makes me sad whenever Mum rings but until now I haven’t been able to change it. Especially as you probably rang me more than her! I think I need to change it today. Doesn’t mean I am forgetting just that I am healing. Anyhow I bet wherever you are you have found the cheapest phone and internet deal and would phone if you could. In fact I hope you have the internet where you are so you can read this. Then again you would probably groan at my “attention seeking” blog, you being quite a private person, so maybe not! I’ll post it to you 🙂 the address is DadCurd, The Ether, SomewhereEverywhere, Always in my Heart. Right?