Hey Dad

BA0A6CBF-F6CC-421A-AB7B-A54438986E8EOkay so. Three years huh? I know I didn’t write on your birthday like I usually do, I’m sorry. This year has thrown me a bit if I’m honest. Cramming your three dates into a week has hit me full smack in the face- birthday, then anniversary and Fathers Day on the same day a week later. 

It’s not to say I don’t think about you often, every day really but I try to keep the feels and tears in check. This year I’ve not really succeeded so much. I’ve teetered on the precipice of totally losing my shit for most of the last two weeks. The irony that you were one of the most emotional and free with tears people I’ve known isn’t lost on me. 

I stated writing this in what used to be 2Stews. Thinking about how much things can still look the same but change so drastically under the surface. It’s two years since I last sat here with a glass of red and wrote you a letter. They still have your memorial stool here, but it’s under a basket of dirty tableware. These new owners have no idea who you are, or who you were to the people who used to own this place. They fussed about, closing up for the night, and were utterly bamboozled when I explained I’d like you stool if they every decide to change decor. They think the very elaborately curvaceous buttock outline was yours, and that that is why I want the stool. Lost in translation I think. 

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You’ve been on my mind a lot since my Europe trip especially. I don’t know how you’d have felt about me leaving J at home for three weeks but I think you would have supported the reasons I went. You would have been so happy that mum went to Switzerland to see Alli, you probably would have gone over too. In fact I’m pretty sure you’d have invited yourself along and done your own leg to the Motherland to dig up some Montgomery history and learn more about William Wallace.

I remember how difficult it was to source the forget me nots for your funeral. It’s really the wrong time of year for them here. As we strolled through London’s Hyde Park in June, they were everywhere. Kian and I picked some and took a picture of them with our family ring in the fork of a tree. I remember thinking at the time you’d really appreciate the symbolism of the fork, and probably refer it back to the Two Roads poem and how you always wished for us to be on the road less travelled. 

Your grandsons are growing so big and every so often I see a glimpse of you in there. Especially J.  Maybe because he’s older and a bit more emotive, maybe because he looks more like me, maybe because he’s also an emotionally charged little person. He’s a lot what I imagine you would have been as a child. Small, allergic (thought nowhere near as bad as you were), clever, energetic and so physically capable. Also so freely trusting and giving of his love. They’re all traits you held the entire time you walked here, and I truly hope he carries them through his life too. 

As time goes on and my children grow, I find myself feeling closer to you. That I understand your motivations and challenges so much more. More and more I really feel that you were just born too early. A few decades later and there would be so much more recognition and support for learning challenges, mental health diagnosis, early intervention and support and a greater appreciation for the more natural way of living that you loved. 

I think I also feel to a degree that we let you down. That I let you down. That I didn’t see you for all that you were and my vision was clouded by the perceptions others had of you. The last months before you left were very tense between us. I was trying to figure out my role as a new mum but wasn’t interested in letting you try to figure out how to be a grandfather. I struggled to move past the volatility, the outbursts and the overwhelming emotions you struggled with and was almost at the point of being able to move forward with you. 

I hope you’d be proud, I think you would be, of the adults we have become. Of the legacies we are now passing onto the next generation. 

I don’t know if you ever knew, but I called you the morning of the day you flew to Thailand. I drove past your house and had the thought it was time to start moving forward. I couldn’t text while driving so called, but didn’t leave a message. God I wish I’d left you a message, to let you know I loved you. That I will always love you, and that I’d give almost anything to have you sitting here next to me. 

Instead I’ll settle for a glass of Shiraz, while I consider some of our happier memories and the stories of you I’ll share with your grandsons as they grow. 

Here’s cheers Da xx

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